A select few of Somerset’s many unsung coronavirus heroes have been presented with their awards as the first ever winners of the Somerset Medal.
The Somerset Medal was launched by Somerset County Council to say a heartfelt thank-you to the best of the best – with the winners honoured at a special reception at Taunton Rugby Club.
Somerset’s Lord Lieutenant Annie Maw spoke at the start of the ceremony before the medals were presented by Council Vice Chair Councillor Mark Keating.
Those honoured included vaccination volunteers, food deliverers, PPE producers, pop-up shop keepers and a whole host of other good Samaritans who all went above and beyond to make sure Somerset kept going during the pandemic.
Cllr Keating, a Senior Youth Support Worker, said he felt privileged to be presenting the medals: “Having read the citations, it was an honour to be able to meet so many of these unsung heroes in person to thank them. Their stories are remarkable – they responded so positively to the coronavirus crisis, putting others’ wellbeing first and foremost.”
The cross-party judging panel – Leader of Somerset County Council David Fothergill, Cllr Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Customers & Communities, Cllr Jane Lock, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, and Cllr Leigh Redman, Leader of the Labour Group – reviewed every nomination before coming to their decision on the winners. All nominees received a letter from the panel thanking them for their efforts.
The Lord Lieutenant said: “The medal shines a light on those who have done so much for their communities during such a very challenging year. They thoroughly deserve Somerset’s thanks, and I am proud to be able to add my gratitude.”
Due to the high quality of the entries and the number of worthy community groups put forward, the judges unanimously agreed to open up the Somerset Medal to a second round of nominations for groups and individuals. This has now closed and the winners of the second round will be announced later this year.
A video of the ceremony is available here: Your Somerset Medal winners – YouTube