THREE community heroes from Okehampton and Hatherleigh have won this year's West Devon Borough Council Mayoral Awards.

The awards are presented every year to people who work to make life better for the borough and its communities.

The over 18 award goes to Shirley Friend, who recently retired from Okehampton Primary School after almost 26 years as a school administrator. Shirley also served the school voluntarily as a staff governor for more than a decade.

She has worked for more than 20 years as a committee member of Okehampton Carnival, and for a number of years she ran a youth club for teenagers in Okehampton.

The school's headteacher Hazel Fox said Shirley was a huge support to staff, children and parents throughout her tenure: 'Many of our parents in recent times were delighted to see Shirley on the front desk as they had fond memories of how they had been helped by her when they were children at the school.

'She has shown commitment through both her professional and voluntary career to make Okehampton an even better place to live for children.'

Jade Morris from Hatherleigh, aged 15, has won the under 18 award after being nominated by Hatherleigh Town Council.

A cornet player, she has been a member of Hatherleigh Band for seven years, and was part of the team that represented the town and South West England in the National Brass Band Championships. Jade also plays saxophone for Okehampton College Big Band and takes part in a number of fundraising events.

A young leader with the Guides, she has also set up an under 16s netball team, and worked hard to win a grant to buy kit for the team and cover sports fees. Jade also assists with the Hatherleigh Parish Church Sunday Club, working with children.

In their nomination, Hatherleigh Town Council said: 'Jade is an outstanding and hard working young member of the Hatherleigh community and an inspiration to many people.'

The Mayor's Green Award has gone to Kay Bickley. Along with her husband John, Kay has transformed her guesthouse business at Upcott House into a 'green hub' through a number of eco-friendly and low carbon initiatives.

Energy and heat for their guests is drawn from a solar PV installation, an air source heat pump, and original open fires, fed with solid fuel from their land.

Upcott House also has an electric vehicle charging station, the first in Devon available for public use. Kay is leading a project across Dartmoor, Devon and the wider South West to develop an electric vehicle charging network that links with sustainable green tourism and allows EV users comfortably to explore the region.

Kay has also been a part of several community projects, including the Okehampton Community Garden, which is aiming to provide a place for local residents to grow food, flowers and spend time outdoors. Kay was nominated for the award by her daughter Katie.

Kay was very pleased to be receiving the award, despite having nominated somebody else: 'It's a double edged sword for me, because I nominated Fran Rickwood, who has worked on the Okehampton Community Garden and has done a lot of excellent environmental work at Okehampton Primary. So when I found out, we were chuckling together about it.

'I had no idea about the nomination from my daughter, and it is lovely to have your efforts recognised in such a way.'

Jade, Shirley and Kay will be presented with their awards at a special council ceremony on April 17.