Two share Axminster Citizen of the Year award

PUBLISHED: 07:28 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 09:23 14 January 2020

Axminster's joint Robin Cross citizens of the year Lesley Frankau (left) and Yvonne Taylor receive their awards from  mayor Anni Young. Picture Chris Carson

Axminster's joint Robin Cross citizens of the year Lesley Frankau (left) and Yvonne Taylor receive their awards from mayor Anni Young. Picture Chris Carson


Two of Axminster’s community champions have become joint winners of the town’s Robin Cross Citizen of the Year award.

Yvonne Taylor and Lesley Frankau received certificates from mayor Anni Young last night (Monday, January 13).

Mrs Frankau, a retired charity fundraiser who moved to Axminster in 2005, has played an active role in many local organisations.

She ran the Axminster Phoenix Ladies Club - formerly the original WI - until it folded in 2018 and has been chairman and secretary of the Women's Section of Axminster branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL). She was also the Devon County RBL women's section representative.

Mrs Frankau launched ACT - Axminster Christmas Together - in 2015 with fellow co-ordinator Paul Hayward to provide companionship and a festive meal for people living on their own.

She is a church council and social and fundraising member of St John the Evangelist, Tatworth, where she and her husband Nicholas formerly lived. She is also a volunteer at Ferne Animal Sanctuary.

A former town councillor, Mrs Taylor has devoted much of her time to helping local youngsters, forming the Axminster Youth Club which she ran for some 25 years.

She also organised play schemes and a holiday club at the town's sports hall.

She has been a volunteer at the museum and worked at the RSPCA charity shop until it closed and helped to raise money for the community group Light up Axminster.

Mrs Taylor is also a keen member of Axminster RBL, along with her husband Keith. For ten years they were the Poppy Appeal organisers.

Born in Axminster she said she was surprised and delighted to receive the award - which had a special significance as Robin Cross had been a good friend. Referring to her work with young people she stressed: "Listen to them - they do have a voice".

Announcing this year's award winners Cllr Young said they were blessed to have two people who worked so hard for their community without ever seeking any recognition,

"We could not put a pin between them," she said.

The two winners received equal votes in a council ballot to share the award which was set up by the town council in memory of much-loved Axminster resident Robin Cross, who died suddenly some two-and-a-half years ago, aged 68, having given many years of dedicated service to the local community.

Mr Cross, 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'.

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