Hungerford’s 2020 Freedom of the Town Awards

The recipients of  Hungerford’s 2020 Freedom of the Town award have been announced and the citations can be found below. These were to have been announced publicly at the Hungerford Annual Meeting in March but this was cancelled due to Coronavirus.

Congratulations to all four of them for the excellent work that they have done in and around the town for many years.

Photo above shows, left to right: Di & Derek Loft; Roger Ballard; Steve Skipworth.

Di Loft

Di has been involved with the Royal British Legion for over 20 years and during this time she was Secretary of the women’s section from 2007 to 2011.  Di has been the RBL women’s section standard bearer for those 20 years and has managed the annual poppy appeal fundraising since 2013. With an amount raised in 2019 in excess of £33,000, this puts Hungerford top of the league of collections for a town of this size.  Truly an absolutely outstanding effort and testament to the commitment and effort from Di and the army of volunteers that offers Di its support year after year.

Di is an active member of St Lawrence’s Church, a chalice bearer, sidesperson and is also on the pastoral care team.  She is also one of the three Sacristans.

Di actively supports her husband Derek (see below) in his community work as Derek supports Di in hers.

Derek Loft

Derek is a resident for whom the saying “If you need something done, ask a busy person” fits pretty much perfectly! Derek makes an outstanding contribution to the town and is involved in so many organisations within Hungerford. As current Treasurer and an active member of the Chamber of Commerce, he co-ordinates the annual Hungerford Extravaganza – no mean feat. He supports Hungerford Town Council on many of the town’s community events, such as Armed Forces Day, and he helped to marshal the road closures for the Christmas lights switch on event in 2019. He always ensures these much-loved community events are managed safely and on time – somehow, he usually manages to book the sunshine too!

Derek is also recognised for his 30+ years supporting the Royal British Legion and particularly, for his organisation of the town’s annual Remembrance Day parades: a considerable amount of work.

He is a member of the HAHA (Hungerford Allotment Holder’s Association) committee and assists his wife, Di (see above), with managing the annual Royal British Legion poppy appeal fundraising.

Roger Ballard

Roger has worked tirelessly for the benefit of Hungerford and its residents for many years.  His achievements include a sponsored digger pull to raise money for the resurfacing at St Saviour’s Cemetery.  He was Santa’s stand in for the Round Table and was an active member of the Morley Lunches committee.

Roger served as a governor at the John O’Gaunt School and has been on the Hungerford Extravaganza committee for 15 years. Roger was responsible for starting the annual Christmas light display as we know it today, with the trees on buildings and white lights. In the beginning he put the lights up free of charge, even paying people to help from his own pocket.

Roger was a member of the Town Council for many years and was Mayor of Hungerford in 2004/2005.  He was unable to complete his full term of office due to a near fatal car accident which left him severely injured.

Despite a second major life changing accident in 2016, Roger still does a lot of good work for the community and is always willing to support his colleagues and lend a helping hand.

Steve Skipworth (‘Skippy’)

Steve has served as former Chair of Hungerford Town Football Club and Chair of Hungerford Town Football Club Juniors for many years.  Steve is now a Trustee to the main club and is the current President of the Hungerford Town Juniors.  Steve has given countless hours of his time (some of it spent in manual labour) and also his own personal resources for the upkeep of the grounds, sponsorship of club kit and improvements to the club facilities.

Steve has always been a passionate ambassador for the youth in the town and serves as an outstanding role model to the club and players. Steve actively promotes the local Football Club as a community centre with functions and fundraising events for the residents to enjoy with their families. He also provided much of the practical help to Hungerford Rugby Club with the building of their new club house.

Steve is an active member of the current carnival committee. His energy, passion and enthusiasm for the youth within the town is a leading example of his selfless commitment to Hungerford’s very special community.


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