THE people who help make Whitchurch a better place to live were honoured at an awards ceremony which has run in the town for 20 years.

Six residents were recognised for their efforts to benefit the community at the annual Whitchurch Community Awards, held in the Gill Nethercott Centre.

Town mayor, Councillor John Clark, who hosted the service, said: “Whitchurch is fortunate to have so many residents who voluntarily give their time and energy to help others, and to the benefit of the community as a whole.

In this 20th year of the award, there is still no shortage of nominees.”

Teenager Callum Nicholson was one of the award recipients having been chosen for his “strong sense of community.”

Cllr Clark's partner, Rosemary Crumplin, told the audience: “He is a volunteer leader with the local Friday night youth club, and a member of the Whitchurch Festival Committee, helping with its annual events.”

Callum, who is a member of the Hampshire Youth Commission, appeared in The Gazette in 2011 when, aged 16, he handed a petition signed by hundreds of people to the borough council, to persuade bosses to put more money into the town’s skate park.

Ms Crumplin said: “Along with friends, he presented the case to a meeting of Basingstoke and Deane Borough councillors. Their excellent presentation resulted in repairs to existing equipment, and the installation of additions to the ramps.”

Karen Baker was given an award in recognition for her contribution to Whitchurch Church of England Primary School, where she is nearing the end of a five-year term as the chairman of the governing body.

Ms Crumplin said: “Karen has a passion for making Whitchurch Primary School the very best school it can be,” and added: “She works closely with the head teacher who has a high regard for her opinions and greatly values her judgement.”

Nadia Dowling was recognised for her commitment to the care of young people. The mother-of-two was elected committee chair for Rising Fives in 2012, when the preschool was going through a “rough patch.”

MsCrumplin said: “Through her determination and hard work she has led the Rising Fives’ recovery.”

Sheila and Geoff Kelland were given a joint award for their services to Whitchurch Silk Mill, where they both volunteer.

Hilary Bond was awarded for her involvement with the parent associations at Rising Fives Pre- School, Whitchurch Primary School and Testbourne Community School.

Various organisations were also presented certificates for their help protecting the town from flooding earlier this year.

They were given to Whitchurch Fire Service, Whitchurch Co-op, Whitchurch Silk Mill, the Emergency Planning team at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, Whitchurch Methodist Church and Paul Whitmarsh, a garden ranger.