A YEAR after the appeal to save Evesham's 16th century Abbey Bell Tower was launched in the Evesham Journal awards have been made to people who have thrown their support behind it.

On Friday night the first Bell Tower awards evening was held to thank those who have got involved in the campaign to raise the £500,000 needed to repair and conserve the town's Abbey Bell Tower.

Fifty awards will be given out in total with an event taking place each month, but the initial ceremony at Raphael's in Evesham saw just four handed to fundraisers.

Sue Ablett, chairman of the fund raising committee, was joined by mayor councillor Charlie Homer to present the awards to the Avonbank Brass Band, Evesham Operatic and Dramatic Society and the Lygonian Singers, which all raised money at different concerts, and councillor Martin Hammon who collects money at his barber shop, Toms, with help from his dog Monty.

She said: "The Bell Tower Appeal has been going for a year now. The reason it's going so well is because of the support we have had from all of you. We have also had great support from the Evesham Journal.

"Diana (Raphael) thought it would be a good idea to present awards, thanks to her and Robert (Raphael) for hosting. The awards are a limited edition, we will only have 50."

Cllr Homer added: "One of the things that strikes me about the people who are receiving awards are that you are institutions of the town."

The award ceremony for the fundraisers comes as the campaign continues to pick up speed with event after event raising money for the Bell Tower Appeal.

Recently a number of people have taken part in sponsored events in support of the Bell Tower.

Earlier this month the Evesham Vale Running Club’s annual Bredon Bash, a six mile run from Elmley Castle to the top of Bredon Hill, contributed £90 and nine-year-old Ashley Gibson did his sponsored walk.

Setting off with family, and friends, dogs Buddy and Murphy, and joined by Dr Ablett, Ashley tackled the seven mile route with great enthusiasm.

Dr Ablett added: "It was a beautiful day, and a lovely walk. True the pace picked up a bit as the Bell Tower first came into view and the end was in sight and Ashley and Buddy then very proudly led the group through the Churchyard to the Bell Tower for a final photoshoot. Sponsorship money is still coming in but it is estimated Ashley will have raised around £250 for the Appeal. An absolutely wonderful effort."

This Saturday and Sunday the Evesham Riverside Steam and Vintage Rally will take place in support of the campaign on Crown Meadow from 10am until 5pm.