A SELFLESS homeless-helper, two fundraising fair owners and a disabled sports pioneer have been honoured in Chard’s annual community awards.

The annual event recognises those who have worked hard for the betterment of the town, either through volunteering or personal service.

Among the award winners was Gary Clarke, the founder of Britain’s Disabled Strongman competition who brought the contest to Chard in 2018 and 2019.

He was nominated by Judy Addicott, who was the mayoress for the past two years.

“There are some people in life you meet that inspire whoever the come in contact with,” she said.

“From an early age at school, Gary was one of those people who showed no fear.

“We all know about Gary the disabled strongman, what we see in the press.

“What most don’t see is the kind and caring side of Gary, the volunteering side.”

Athletes from this year’s competition, which saw another sold out event at the Guildhall, praised Gary as well.

They described him as “visionary, opportunist, passionate, supportive and awe-inspiring”.

Chard & Ilminster News:

WINNER: Mayor Jason Backer and Gary Clarke

The next award winner was Julian Dorse.

He was nominated by Councillor Jenny Kenton, who said: “Julian has welcomed into his home many people who are temporarily ‘lost’ for whatever reason.

“The main reason for my nomination now stemmed from a cold November evening last year, when, as leaving a town council meeting one night we met a young homeless man sleeping in the doorway of Peacocks.

“I bought him a cup of coffee and a biscuit and went home feeling that I had made a difference.

“Julian, however, walked over to the man and after talking to him, invited him into his home.

“This young man is now registered with our local doctors surgery and has held down a job locally for five months.

“What greater act of kindness is there when faced with difficult times yourself you can welcome into your life a stranger in need.”

Chard & Ilminster News:

RECIPIENT: Cllr Baker with Julian Dorse

The mayor’s award went to Janet and Marshall Herbert.

The pair have been running fairs in Chard and the surrounding area for more than five decades.

Cllr Garry Shortland said: “For the past six years - four as deputy and the last two as mayor - I have had the pleasure to get to know Mr and Mrs Herbert.

“What many people don’t know is the community involvement.

“They open up the fair prior to the public opening to groups that would not be able to use it under normal circumstances for free.

“They make all these groups very welcome and they also treat the carnival prince and princess, and have contributed to the Mayor’s Charity over the years.”

Cllr Shortland also presented a cheque for more than £4,000 to Hope for Tomorrow.

Chard & Ilminster News:

HANDOVER: Cllr Garry Shortland, Maria Ford from Hope for Tomorrow, and Cllr Baker