Totnes has recognised the selfless deeds of local individuals and charities at a special event organised by the town council.

The Community Award Nominations (CAN) was held last week at the civic hall to celebrate the work of local volunteers who have made a positive impact to people’s lives over the past year.

Among the recipients were two volunteers who helped preserve a communal garden in the town centre, a Scout leader and two people whose initiatives focused on helping to feed low-income families.

Sue Holmes received a special Lifetime Achievement Award for doing more than 25 years of volunteer work to preserve Leechwell Gardens, a communal beauty spot.

Mayor Emily Price said Ms Holmes had dedicated “countless hours” as a leading volunteer member of the Leechwell Gardens Association (LGA), helping to transform the gardens “into a true natural oasis in the heart of our town”.

The achievement is all the more poignant as there were no green open spaces in the centre of town when Ms Holmes first settled in Totnes some 20 years ago.

She also thanked this paper for highlighting a fundraising appeal launched earlier this year. “(The paper’s coverage) really produced results to get more people coming forward,” she said.

Her colleague Dave Mitchell, who has been involved in the LGA since its inception, also received a CAN.

The other nominees were Diana Cusack for her long-standing work with Totnes Gardens; Group Scout leader Ben Reynolds; Louise Spencer, nominated for her community charity work on behalf of the Poppy Appeal; Kit Stevens, for her work with Stepping Stones food bank; Graham Walker for his fundraising; Liz Waterson for her work as a street pastor; and Jo Yeo, who launched ‘Food For Children Totnes’ in January 2023, providing free meal kits during school holidays to low-income families.

Volunteer groups nominated included The Mansion Volunteers; the Sharpham Park Run for setting up a local, free run; Stepping Stones Food Bank for its move to a permanent home at St Johns Church; and Totnes Caring for its ongoing work in the community with transport, food and helping people facing isolation.