Boston’s community champions rewarded for their efforts

Boston Borough Council handed out its community awards.
Boston Borough Council handed out its community awards.

Community champions – including a long-serving bell ringer from Boston Stump – have been honoured for their achievements in the borough.

Tom Freeston has climbed the equivalent height of Mount Everest 15 times while making his way up the bell tower over the past 66 years.

Tom, now in his eighties, received a community award from Mayor of Boston Coun Colin Brotherton in the borough council chamber on Thursday night.

Coun Helen Staples, speaking in support of his nomination, said his climbs to the ringing room at the Stump over the decades had included 41 years as tower captain of the bell ringing team.

He has retired as captain, but said he intends to take the 200 steps to the ringing room for as long as he is able.

He said he was introduced to bell ringing – campanology – by his brother when he was aged just 14 and added it was a great privilege to ring the bells at the Stump, especially for special occasions such as greeting royalty.

He asked that when people admired the sound of the bells they spared a thought for the ‘invisible’ bell ringers.

Stan Meeds was also chosen for a council award.

He was supported by Coun Gloria Smith, who praised his work as church warden for more than 30 years at St Nicholas Church, Skirbeck.

He also does voluntary work for the Red Cross, the Poppy Appeal, the Royal British Legion and Royal Naval Association.

Mr Meeds said he could not have done any of it without the constant support of his wife, Audrey.

Coun Raymond Singleton-McGuire spoke in support of the nomination for Ray and Mary Smith, of Leverton, for their work for St Helena’s Parochial Church Council.

They had helped raise funds and battled to keep Leverton Church Hall open, including organising a major repair and refurbishment programme after it was damaged in an arson attack in 2010.

Mary accepted the award, but Ray was not able to attend due to illness.

Coun Peter Bedford told how Yvonne Stevenson worked incredibly hard for her community of Freiston, where she has lived all her life.

She looks after the church and church yard, helping Freiston win best kept village awards three times in the past five years.

She provides hospitality for village visitors and helps with the church Christmas tree festival and the Christmas party at the community centre.

Miss Stevenson said she “just got on with it” and thanked her team of helpers.

The annual awards have been given out by the council since 1980 and were set up to acknowledge people’s outstanding service to the community.