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Double award for Rotary couple

ROTARIAN husband and wife, Gill and Humphrey Barnes, have both received prestigious Paul Harris Awards from Frome Rotary Club.

Paul Harris was the founder of the Rotary Movement and the awards are made either to Rotarians who have made considerable contributions to Rotary projects or who have ‘gone that extra mile’ to improve and enhance the local community.

The awards to Gill and Humphrey were made at Frome Rotary Club’s recent President’s Night at the Standerwick Suite, Frome Market.

Club president Jerry Lewis said, “It is not often that these awards are presented to a husband and wife at the same time but everyone agreed that, for so many reasons, these two awards were richly deserved.

“At the recent ‘For One Night Only’ concert at the Memorial Theatre, £3,800 was raised for ‘Help for Heroes’, Gill was director and, without her great talent, this would probably not have been possible.

“She has directed so many fund-raising concerts of this sort over the years and she has a unique ability to persuade artists to participate and to put them into a balanced show  much enjoyed by ‘nearly full’ houses each and every time. She has also directed many FAOS musicals and pantomimes.

“Gill has made huge contributions to Inner Wheel in recent years and has been a driving force in the Frome Musical Theatre Company (formerly the Frome Operatic Society) for 57 years. Sometimes as many as nine members of her family are involved in performing on stage or working behind the scenes at any one time.

“Humphrey was president of Rotary two years ago and has made a great contribution to the movement.   He is completely committed to every task he undertakes; Carnival, Christmas float, marathon, youth activities etc.

“For most of his life he has been a leading light in the Frome Operatic Society. He joined 64 years ago and has played 82 major roles in shows.  Not many leading men can also play the Pantomime dame which he has done for many years! He was also chairman of FAOS for 12 years and  chairman at the Memorial Theatre for 30 years.  Gill and Humphrey are great ambassadors for FMTC.

“There was a time when ‘The Grand’ was threatened with demolition but Gill and Humphrey, with others, were determined  that would not happen. One has only to walk down Park Road, look across and see the wonderful theatre to be reminded that this may have been lost but for their endeavours.

“With ‘Charlie Robbins’ now on guard, the picture is complete.”

Rotarian Dennis Barnard, added on a more personal note, “I have seen a cabinet full of awards in the Barnes household – all well and truly deserved – none more so than the two Paul Harris Awards from Rotary.”