VALUABLE community work carried out by volunteers, police officers and police community support officers across the region has been recognised at the first Neighbourhood Policing Awards presentation in Devizes.

The awards were set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson.

Mr Macpherson had been due to address the invited audience and present the awards. But he is recovering in the Royal United Hospital in Bath after collapsing a couple of weeks ago.

In his absence, the awards were presented by the Chief Constable Pat Geenty.

Kieran Kilgallen, chief executive of the Office of the PCC, told the gathering: “If Angus was here today I am sure he would be telling you just what an important part volunteers play within the communities of Wiltshire and Swindon.”

One such volunteer is PCSO Maria Downham nominated by Collingbourne Kingston Parish Council for the care and concern shown to the residents of her local community over the past year, which was felt to go beyond the call of duty.

The council said: “Maria shows a great deal of compassion and patience in her dealings with the numerous weekly call-outs from an elderly vulnerable person who lives in the village on her own and suffers from confusion. Maria was instrumental in finding a long-term solution to this lady’s needs and continues to demonstrate concern for her wellbeing.

“Maria is a friendly, highly approachable person with a ready smile and a ‘can help’ approach.

She shows excellent commitment to her role in the community that is worthy of special recognition.”