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Mayor of Mirfield Clr Vivien Lees-Hamilton honours five latest 'ambassadors'

Mirfield people who make a difference to community are celebrated

Mirfield's latest ambassadors. From the left: Christine Sykes, the Rev Helen Butler, Grahame Foster, Graham Ervine, godfather of James Dedman, Clr David Pinder, Deputy Mayor of Mirfield Clr Andrew White and Mayor of Mirfield Clr Vivien Lees-Hamilton outside St John's Church, Upper Hopton. By Mike Clark.

Five people from various walks of life have been honoured as the latest Mirfield ‘ambassadors’.

Christine Sykes, the Rev Helen Butler, Grahame Foster, Clr David Pinder and James Dedman were all added to the town’s roll of honour at a civic service.

The coveted Mirfield Town Council awards were set up to mark the contribution of individuals who have made a difference to the local community.

Mayor of Mirfield Clr Vivien Lees-Hamilton presented badges at a service at St John’s Church, Upper Hopton.

Mrs Sykes was the driving force behind the refurbishment of Trinity Methodist Church, while Mrs Butler is minister and curate at Mirfield Team Parish.

Mr Foster is the long-serving chairman of Mirfield Allotment Society and Clr Pinder is a town councillor and former Mayor.

James, aged 15, was the youngest recipient. He is an aspiring sportsman who is aiming to clinch a place in Team GB’s shotgun squad for the Rio Olympics in 2016.

Clr Lees-Hamilton described Mrs Sykes as a “immutable volunteer” who had worked “ceaselessly and tirelessly” giving her time to so many groups in Mirfield over four decades.

She added: “Christine was instrumental in the successful renovation of the Trinity Methodist Church all the way from fundraising and applying for grants to the project management of the building work.

“Christine also volunteers with Churches Together, Matrix and Mirfield Educational Charity and Christine’s other charities include Action for Children and Daybeak.

“The amount of organisations that Christine has dedicated her time to over the years really is too large to mention.”

Mrs Butler earned her award for helping promote St Mary’s Parish Church as a community heritage site, and working to preserve its history for future generations.

When brass memorial plaques were stolen from a Mirfield churchyard Mrs Butler was instrumental in bringing together police, councillors and council officials to tackle the problem of metal theft.

Mr Foster has given more than 30 years’ service to Mirfield Allotment Society.

Clr Lees-Hamilton said: “It is people like Grahame who make Mirfield such a wonderful place.”

James, meanwhile, is a crack shot and is already beating the senior men in international competitions.

He is being coached by Olympic shooter Peter Wilson and has been awarded funding from the Talented Athletes Scholarship Scheme, which fast-tracks young people with medal potential.

James couldn’t be at the presentation in person as he was travelling to a competition in Tucson, Arizona. His godfather Graham Ervine received the award on his behalf.

Clr Pinder, twice Mayor of Mirfield, is also chairman of Mirfield Community Partnership and chairman of Mirfield Historical Society. A former soldier, he supports the charities Help for Heroes and Combat Stress and has organised Mirfield’s Festival of Dance, which has put Mirfield on the Morris dancing map.

“All the awards are so well deserved,” said Clr Lees-Hamilton. “It is humbling that there are so many people willing to give up their time for the town.”

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