Three Somerset ‘Community Champions’ have been awarded British Empire Medals at a ceremony held in Taunton.
The Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Mohammed Saddiq, handed out the medals to Andrew Samuel from Taunton, David Scott from Williton, and William Mellersh from Stanton Drew.
Mr Saddiq told them: “You have all selflessly volunteered your time to your local communities, going far beyond the extra mile and you are fully deserving of these medals. Congratulations to you all.”
The British Empire Medal (BEM) is awarded on behalf of the Monarch for “hands on” service to the local community over a period of time.
ANDREW SAMUEL received his award for services to the community in Somerset, particularly during the COVID 19 pandemic. Mr Samuel was one of the founding members of the Coronavirus Community Support Group in Taunton. He galvanised a group of volunteers to deliver leaflets to 1,000 homes with contact numbers for essential services.
He developed software and training for volunteers enabling a support line to be operational 12 hours a day. He also identified the need for a safer, local shopping environment as people began to emerge from lockdown. So, with others, he set up a local, not-for-profit community shop close to a retirement village.
DAVID SCOTT received his award for services to countryside conservation and heritage. Mr Scott has volunteered since 1976 when he began to work as a Cotswold Warden.
Following his retirement from teaching in 2017, he moved to Somerset where he became a Volunteer Ranger with the Quantock Hills AONB. He also works for the Minehead Woodland Group and volunteers on the West Somerset Railway. In total he has contributed more than 40 years of selfless service to his communities.
WILLIAM MELLERSH received his award for services to the sport of badminton in the Bristol area. In 2010 he successfully formed the Chew Valley Junior Badminton Club. His goal was to create a welcoming atmosphere where everyone could enjoy the sport, regardless of ability.
The club currently has around 150 members, many now playing at county or league level. Mr Mellersh remains the club’s head coach. He has now expanded the remit of the club to offer opportunities to both men and women, enabling families to participate in the sport together.