Neighbourly good deeds make big difference to Forches community.

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A SMILE, a friendly ear, and a dedication to her community that goes far beyond the call of duty are all in a day’s work for kind-hearted Carol Lewis.

Carol, from Barnstaple, has been recognised for the vital role she plays on the Forches estate after being nominated for a North Devon Gazette and J Cowlings Love Thy Neighbour Award by friend and colleague Mandy Chapple.

Centre manager at the Forches Community Association, Carol’s involvement in her community is also felt in the Forches communal gardens, where she works hard making sure the garden runs smoothly.

“She spends all of her spare time there ensuring the garden produces fruit and veg for people in Forches and the surrounding areas to buy,” said Mandy. “She also goes on courses to educate herself to be a great gardener.”

Carol also helps run a Saturday club for seven to 11-year-olds and regularly organises community get-togethers – the latest being a Big Lunch to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

“All her tireless work keeps Carol so busy but she still manages to do sponsored walks for cancer charities that are very close to her heart,” added Mandy.

And when winter took its toll on the estate’s roads last year, Carol not only telephoned the council to ask for some grit, she then got her shovel out and spent all day treating the paths so people could get to the shops – despite suffering from a bad back herself.

“Nothing is too much trouble for Carol,” added Mandy. “She is a remarkable lady who helps anyone and everyone who needs it. She always has a smile and a friendly ear and is truly an inspiration to others.”

In recognition of her contribution to the community, Carol was presented with the Love Thy Neighbour award, plus a meal voucher for the Pier House restaurant in Westward Ho!, by Jenny Cowling of J Cowlings.

Carol said: “It’s a nice shock to win this award, but I will share it with my colleague Mandy, who works just as hard at the Forches Community Centre.

“I live in the community so it’s very nice to be able to give something back. We rely heavily on volunteers and donations, and there are a lot of people and companies who are extremely generous, but don’t get the recognition that they deserve, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has shown us some support.

“We are currently working on a recycle garden and would like to try and get more children involved, but they are unable to use the large tools that we currently have. If there is anyone who could help with a donation of some small hand tools we would all be extremely grateful.”

Jenny Cowling said: “It’s a pleasure to present Carol with a Love Thy Neighbour award. She makes us all think about what we don’t do, and without people like her communities wouldn’t be able to survive.”

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If you would like to nominate a neighbour, friend, family member or colleague for the fantastic work they do, please email newsdesk@northdevongazette.co.uk telling us why your nominee deserves to be recognised. Alternatively you can drop your nomination into the Gazette office in Old Station Road, Barnstaple, before the deadline on Monday, October 1. Please include your name, address and a daytime telephone number.

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