Pride winners who are toast of their town

Pride of Houghton winner Beryl Morton with Houghton mayor Councillor David Jones
Pride of Houghton winner Beryl Morton with Houghton mayor Councillor David Jones

Dedicated gardening champion Beryl Morton and a leisure centre campaign group really are the pride of their town.

For the Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Action Group and Mrs Morton have both been chosen as deserving winners of this year’s Pride Of Houghton Awards.

Mrs Morton, 88, has been president of Houghton Regis Horticultural Society for 30 years and only stepped down from her role as secretary earlier this year.

She had been secretary of the horticultural society since it was founded in 1960.

Mrs Morton has also had a long career as a secretary in her professional life.

Remarkably, she did not retire until her 80th birthday.

She was nominated by Roger Marsh, of estate agents Roger Marsh & Co.

Houghton Regis Town Council runs the awards scheme to give official recognition to those who make a significant contribution to the area.

Mr Marsh said: “Beryl Morton has kept alive the importance of gardening and horticulture by tirelessly organising the annual show on behalf of the horticultural society at the Memorial Hall.

“She is a credit to the community and an example to others, most of us far younger!”

Mrs Morton said: “When the letter came, I was very touched. I couldn’t think what on Earth I had done to deserve it. I was very honoured indeed.”

This year was the 10th annual awards ceremony, and the winners were given a framed certificate, a gold badge, and a £100 cheque by Houghton Regis mayor Councillor David Jones.

The ceremony was held at the Old Red Lion, in Houghton, and the awards night raised more than £650 for the mayor’s charities.

Angela Evans, of Children’s Links, successfully nominated Houghton Regis Leisure Centre Action Group for an award.

She praised the action group’s campaign to keep the leisure centre open.

And she said that the group “through hard work and determination” had been successful in uniting the community for the campaign and also brought “an overwhelming sense of community to the local residents of Houghton Regis.”

Angela highlighted how important the centre is for the work by Children’s Links, primarily an outdoor project.

She said that without the centre, Children’s Links “would not have been able to provide a wider range of opportunities for the adults and young people in Houghton Regis”.