‘Unsung heroes’ awarded for community service

Boston Mayor Coun Alison Austin with the winners Mike Jessop, John Cooper, June Spouncer and (front) Mary Abbott.
Boston Mayor Coun Alison Austin with the winners Mike Jessop, John Cooper, June Spouncer and (front) Mary Abbott.

At an emotional and humourous awards ceremony - ‘unsung heroes’ were recognised for service to their local communities.

The 35th annual Boston Borough Council Community Awards saw a packed council chamber last Thursday.

The first to be awarded was Mary Abbott - a stalwart of Wyberton community who gave a life-time of support to St Leodegar’s Church, and taking part is other events, including a sponsored cycle ride - and support for the cub scouts and Mother’s Union.

Describing Mary as an ‘inspiration and stalwart of the community’ Mayor Coun Alison Austin said: “Her baking and knitting were legendary.”

Parish councillor John Cooper was commended for his services to Frampton.

Speaking of his achievements, Coun Stuart Ashton said John, also affectionately known as ‘Cooperman’ is the unnofficial village caretaker, spending his own time clearing litter from the village. He was also ‘instrumental’ in keeping St Mary’s Church open.

“John is an industrialist, caring, friendly, thoughful, good company and a credit to the village,” said Coun Ashton.

Mike Jessop’s impressive list of community roles were outlined by Coun Michael Brookes who said: “Mike has spent the best part of a lifetime of service to our community - particularly people who are vulnerable. His dedication is humbling and he’s done this for more than 40 years.”

In 1972 Mike opened a Boston branch of the Samaritans - and in the years that followed he has served Centenary Methodist Church and set up services to help homeless people. He also visits people in hospital, takes funerals and set up the street pastors programme, among many other things. Much of his volunteer work doesn’t see him return home until the early hours of the morning.

June Spouncer was awarded for her avid support of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People since 1993. Speaking about her achievements, Coun Richard Austin said: “In that time she has raised £50,000 for the charity,” and described her as ‘a shining example’, outlining the national awards she gained in recognition of her voluntary work. Some members of the charity were there to support her, including ‘hearing dog’ Rupert - whose loud snoring throughout the ceremony drew laughs.