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Town Award to Michael Nicholls

Horley Town Council is delighted to announce that the prestigious Town Award was presented to a worthy recipient, Michael Nicholls.  The award was presented by Town Mayor, Cllr Mike George at St Barts Church prior to its Sunday service on Sunday 19 February 2017.  A brief summary of the citation follows below:
 
Michael Nichols first visited the St Bart’s Job Club in 2008 and soon found his niche doing very worthwhile voluntary work.  Michael had noticed the abundance of litter in both the Old and New Churchyards and soon took it upon himself to be a voluntary litter picker, going out early every day, whatever the weather.  Not only are the Churchyards now free of litter, people are also less inclined to drop rubbish in such a well-cared for area.  Passers-by and dog walkers soon began to comment on the vastly improved appearance of the Churchyards.
 
Following a reduction in the Churchyards Maintenance Grant in 2012, representatives of the Churchyards Committee and volunteers offered to cut the grass in the Old Churchyard free of charge.  Michael Nichols became one of these valuable and hard work working volunteers and can regularly be seen mowing the grass, taking great pride in his work.  Michael sees a need and, without prompting, takes the initiative and gets the job done.  Michael’s efforts are not just confined to the Churchyards themselves.  Whenever there is a need for help with maintenance work, moving furniture or decorating the Church for Christmas, Michael is there, ready and willing.
 
This Award is to recognise Michael’s unstinting efforts carried out so willingly and cheerfully.
 
Cllr George said, “I was very pleased and honoured to make this Award for all that he has done for the town and the community for many years.  I feel that this was a well-deserved award.”
 
Churchwarden Ann Golding said: "For years, Michael has single-handedly kept both our churchyards free from rubbish, daily going around with his litter picker and black sack making the environment look both clean and tidy. His contribution is invaluable. He picks up cans, bottles and he's even been known to clean up dog mess."
 
Former Horley Team curate Rev Kate Capper, who returned to St Bart's for the special service, said: "I've known Michael since 2010 when he came along to help us with cleaning up the churchyard. He enjoyed it so much he said 'can I keep doing this if you get me a picker and some black sacks'. I did, but wondered 'how long will this last' and here we are today."
 
He has become a friend and right hand man to church maintenance expert Michael Gardner.  He said: "Michael has been helping put down the wood chipping into all the holes and last year he was up on the roof with us doing the valleys. Without his help we would have had to do it alone. It makes a lot of difference a course cut the time right down."
 
On receiving his award Michael said: "I'm very honoured to do the community work for St Bart's Churchyard. I love doing it. People come and talk to me. Some of them even know my name now."
 

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