Hard working Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Hayley Widger has been named Citizen of the Year by Axminster Town Council.
The popular officer was voted for by the public and received her award from Axminster Mayor Jill Farrow at a ceremony earlier this month.
Hayley, who has worked in her Devon & Cornwall Police role for a decade, was supported at the event by Inspector Phil Gray who heads up the Rural East Devon police sector.
The award was launched in Axminster in 2018 in memory of the late Robin Cross, a long-serving Special Constable. His widow Lin Cross attended the council event to see Hayley receive her special accolade.
PCSO Widger said: "I am incredibly grateful to be the 2024 recipient of the Robin Cross Award. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who nominated me and Axminster Town Council for sponsoring the award. Receiving it has been an absolute honour. I was privileged to have known Robin when he worked as a caretaker at my school and also in his voluntary role as a Police Special Constable.
“Robin was a kind, fair and approachable man who supported me in many ways while I was growing up. I trusted Robin's judgement and I looked up to him. I was incredibly proud to become a Police Community Support Officer ten years ago, and Robin's positive influence certainly helped me choose this role. Receiving an award in Robin's memory is a true honour.
“Working in the Axminster community is very important to me. It is a job that I love and I strive to do my best for the people I meet every day. I could not, however, do my job without the unwavering support I get from our community partners and working alongside some amazing people who also have Axminister's best interests at heart."
Hayley has helped with many community projects such as Nourish and organises local events to keep youngsters entertained, fed, safe and away from potential anti-social behaviour. She helps vulnerable members of the community and has built strong relationships with local people who trust her to support them and give good advice.
Photo shows from left to right: Lin Cross, Hayley Widger and Inspector Phil Gray.
Inspector Phil Gray praised Hayley’s work for the residents of Axminster. He said: “I was delighted and extremely proud to be invited to the Axminster Council meeting to see Hayley win the 2024 Robin Cross Award as Axminster Citizen of the Year.
“Voters felt Hayley always goes above and beyond her duties as a PCSO, often doing great things for her community whilst off duty. She is a valued member of the Neighbourhood Team in Rural East Devon and I am extremely grateful for all her hard work and dedication to her role and the community of Axminster.
“Finally, on behalf of her Neighbourhood Team colleagues and the wider Devon & Cornwall Police family, I would like to congratulate her on winning this award.”
A £100 donation is given to a charity of the recipient's choosing as part of the award. Hayley has selected Seaton Hospice at Home as the beneficiary.
Axminster Town Mayor, Councillor Jill Farrow, added: “Axminster Town Council congratulates Hayley and expresses gratitude to everyone who took the time to submit nominations. We received an unprecedented number of nominations this year, all for people who serve Axminster admirably, underscoring the strength of community spirit in this town.”
This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit: https://www.chesilradio.com