Medals, music and ‘My Somerset’ on Somerset Day

Community heroes and budding young artists were recognised in Somerset Day celebrations at the Museum of Somerset yesterday.

Seven Somerset recipients of British Empire Medals came together with the winners of a county-wide schools art competition at the landmark Taunton venue in an event organised by Somerset County Council Chairman, Christine Lawrence, and the Passion for Somerset group.

The first half of the evening was dedicated to the Somerset Young People’s Art Festival competition. More than 700 children from schools across the county entered, tasked with writing a short story or poem or painting a picture on the theme ‘My Somerset’.

Winners and runners up from three different age groups received certificates from Leader of the Council, John Osman; Nigel Muers-Raby, Chairman of Passion for Somerset; John Crockford-Hawley, Chairman of North Somerset Council; and Ian Dyer, Chairman of Sedgemoor District Council.

The second half of the evening saw Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, Mrs Anne Maw, present British Empire Medals (BEM) to Somerset residents who were awarded the honour in the 2016 New Year Honours.

Seven of the nine Somerset recipients attended the event. The BEM is granted in recognition of meritorious civil service, and the Somerset medals were in recognition of great work ranging from services to the Kennet and Avon Canal to healthcare provision in Zanzibar.

The evening also featured performances by the County Council’s Canticle Choir, the Somerset Youth Orchestra and Taunton Morris Men.

“This was a really special evening for me, and hopefully everyone who attended,” said Cllr Christine Lawrence. “We wanted to use Somerset Day as an opportunity to celebrate not only this wonderful county, but also its talented, selfless and community spirited residents of all ages.

“My thanks go to everyone who helped put the event on, especially the Museum of Somerset, and I hope this adds to the momentum of Somerset Day as an annual event that this county embraces.”

Nigel Muers-Raby, Chairman of Passion for Somerset, said: “We are delighted that so many people came together last night to support just some of the amazing talent we have in our county and to enjoy some of our wonderful produce generously donated by Wyke Farms, Bradley’s Juice and Miles Tea.”

Passion for Somerset is the Community Interest Company, set up by a group of local businesses who are behind Somerset Day.