Axminster Citizen of the Year named

PUBLISHED: 15:01 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:07 17 January 2019

Brian Ball (centre) with his shield flanked by Mayor Jeremy Walden and Geoff Enticott who was the town's first Robin Cross Citizen of the Year. Picture Chris Carson

Brian Ball (centre) with his shield flanked by Mayor Jeremy Walden and Geoff Enticott who was the town's first Robin Cross Citizen of the Year. Picture Chris Carson

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Brian Ball becomes the second winner of the Robin Cross Shield

Another of Axminster’s community champions has become the second winner of the town’s Robin Cross Citizen of the Year award.

Brian Ball, who uses his skills as a self-employed gardener to tend the town’s flower beds, tubs and hanging baskets free of charge, received the shield from Mayor Jeremy Walden last night (Monday, January 14).

He was also presented with a cheque for £100, provided by the Midweek Herald, to donate to his chosen charity - the local counselling service Arc.

Mr Ball received most nominations to win the award which was set up by the town council in memory of much-loved Axminster resident Robin Cross, who died suddenly 18 months ago, aged 68, having given many years of dedicated service to the local community.

Announcing this year’s award winner Mayor Jeremy Walden said Mr Ball had also given great service to Axminster – not only through his gardening work but also helping out as a volunteer snow and flood warden for the town, alongside John Jeffery, who recently received the BEM for his community work.

He added: “Brian has also attended virtually every council meeting for which he probably deserves the George Medal!”

After passing on the shield, Geoff Enticott, the first recipient of the Robin Cross award, was presented with a certificate to keep as a permanent reminder of his achievement.

Following the ceremony Mr Ball told The Midweek Herald: “I knew Robin Cross when he was in the local constabulary and I was with St John Ambulance and we often shared a cup of tea. To be associated with anything that has his name on it is an honour.”

* Mr Cross, who was admired for his dedication to all things Axminster, was site manager at Axe Valley Community College for a number of years.

He also spent more than a quarter of a century with the Special Constabulary, attaining the rank of special inspector, and was affectionately known as ‘The Sheriff of Axminster’.

Town councillors agreed to set up the annual citizen of the year award as a permanent mark of respect for Mr Cross and ‘his selfless work for the town’.

** Although he is no longer a member of the town council members voted to nominate former Mayor John Jeffery to represent them at a Royal Garden Party should they be successful in obtaining an invite through the Devon Association of Local Councils.

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