Meet Hucknall’s new Citizen Of The Year

Cyril Thomas
Cyril Thomas

A TIRELESS pensioner, described as an “outstanding ambassador” for Hucknall, has been crowned the town’s Citizen Of The Year at the prestigious Pride Of Ashfield civic awards.

Cyril Thomas (79), of Greenwood Vale, is well-known locally as an integral member of countless community groups and as someone who is never afraid to voice his opinion.

But he was left speechless when he was announced as the winner at a ceremony at Portland College in Mansfield.

“I knew I had been nominated and I had been shortlisted for the award,” Cyril told the Dispatch. “But I thought it would end there.

“When I heard my name read out, I couldn’t believe it. I was delighted. It is a real honour and I am very grateful.”

Cyril, who was born and raised in Gloucestershire, started his working life as a fireman on the railways.

He later joined the Royal Air Force (RAF). But after meeting his future wife, Rita, in Hucknall, he moved to the town in 1953 and has lived here every since.

He worked for cycle manufacturer Raleigh before a 29-year career at the National Coal Board workshops in Bestwood Village before retirement.

Cyril was previously chairman of Hucknall Liberal Club but gave it up to look after his wife when she became seriously ill.

When Rita died ten years ago, Cyril says he was “lost”. But he found support through the Hucknall Retired Members Association, of which he is now chairman. He is also chairman of Hucknall Senior Forum and a member of Hucknall Partnership Group.

At the awards ceremony, Cyril received a large shield and a framed plaque.

He added: “I do what I do for the benefit of elderly people in Hucknall. It is not about getting prizes. But it is very nice to get some recognition.”

Also successful at the awards ceremony was the Hucknall-based organisation Friday Tots, which was named Community Group Of The Year for the town.

Friday Tots is run by a dedicated group of parents who stage weekly play sessions during school term-time for youngsters up to the age of five at St Peter and St Paul’s Church on Ruffs Drive.

None of the members had experience of working in the community but have raised funds to organise outings, parties and family activities.