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A 'special' recognition

The driving force behind Bath's floral efforts has won a special award in an annual scheme which gives a pat on the back to people giving up their time for their community.

Bath in Bloom chairman Barry Cruse was given the Chairman's Special Award at the Chairman's Community Awards organised by Bath and North East Somerset Council this week.

The hairdresser, who for years also led the Moorland Road Traders' Association, was given the MBE in the 2004 New Year Honours for his community work.

Bath won its section of the South West in Bloom contest last year but was pipped to the post in the national Britain in Bloom competition this year.

Mr Cruse, whose committee organises the Bath in Bloom competition with the council, said the latest award was a great surprise.

"Bath in Bloom is bigger than just me, it's about communities, churches and schools. Without everybody who contributes to Bath in Bloom, it couldn't happen, so my thanks go to them all. I am dead chuffed."

The awards were chosen after nominations from the public.

Volunteer of the Year was Jennie Noakes from the Bath Street Pastors, while the Age Concern Volunteer Befriending Team took the title of Volunteer Team of the Year. Student Neighbour of the Year was the University of Bath's Carly Whittaker, for her work with a scheme which allows residents to use the gardens of student homes to grow produce.

Other winners were: Young Volunteer of the Year – Ursula Cherry; Volunteer Leader of the Year – Jon Moore; Young Volunteer Leader of the Year – Craig Wilkins; Young Volunteer Team – Somer Valley FM Young Volunteers; Lifetime Achievement of the Year – Shirley Steel; Good Neighbour of the Year – Edward Sant; Somer Resident of the Year – Frederick Smith.

Council chairman Councillor Peter Edwards said: "I'd like to thank all the people-made nominations and congratulate those who were put forward. The council considers volunteers to be the lifeblood which keeps the heart of the community pumping."

The awards aim not just to recognise mainstream volunteers but also to acknowledge the work of anyone who regularly puts the needs of others before themselves.

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