A BLACKSMITH says he is overjoyed to have been recognised for his eye-catching work including a horse sculpture made to honour the memory of fallen animals and servicemen in the First and Second World Wars.

Steven Cooper, a Pershore blacksmith, has won the Arts Recognition Award, part of the Wychavon Community Recognition awards.

Last year he completed restoration on the iconic golden gates at Wood Norton which are believed to originate from the Palace of Versailles in France. His work also includes The Pershore War Horse statue which was unveiled in Pershore Abbey Grounds in November and is constructed from horseshoes.

Mr Cooper said: “It’s a bit surreal really. When I do things the main reward is seeing the look on people’s faces when I’ve done it. So to be nominated by the community and get awarded is massive. I have got the trophy on my side board and you look at it and think ‘wow, did I really get given that?’ Sue Cosnett was the same. She rang me and said ‘do you keep pinching yourself?’ It’s really nice.”

“For me I think I have been awarded it based on my commitment to being able to give the town nice things such as the golden gates at Wood Norton and the gates I donated to go at the back of Number 8. It all came into the melting pot and when it came to the War Horse it just finished it off.”

Mr Cooper said: “I’d like to say thank you to my community because without them I wouldn’t have had the award. Also thank you to Wychavon because they gave me a free run in which to design and make some stuff.”

The Pershore War Horse Memorial Project is the brainchild of resident Sue Cosnett who scooped the Community Project Award for her hard work. She spent months organising and fundraising for the project which also raised funds for armed forces mental health charity Combat Stress.

Mrs Cosnett said: “I couldn’t believe I’d won it. I’m just grateful for the people who nominated me. It’s been a good year. I am very overwhelmed with it all.”

“I just wanted to do something for the town to keep the memory alive. It’s a long lasting legacy. Everybody who walks past it, they absolutely love it.”

The awards evening was held at Peopleton Village Hall.

Mrs Cosnett who has lived in Pershore for most of her life said: “It was a good evening. There was some good entries and each category had three entries. Winning was amazing. I couldn’t be happier.”

Other community recognition award winners are:

Young Volunteer Award- Woody Wride (aged 10 from Evesham) – for the work he does raising money to help the rough sleepers of Worcestershire.

Volunteer of the Year Award- Samantha Ellis (from Droitwich) – for her continuous voluntary work with events and activities held in Westlands, Droitwich.

Sporting Hero Award- Chris Andrews (from Droitwich) – for his dedication for the last 40 years to Droitwich Boxing Club.

Enabling Healthy Lives Award- Dave Boucker (from Evesham) – for the projects he runs at Evesham Adventure Playground.

Arts Recognition Award- Steven Ellis Cooper (from Pershore) – for the amazing artwork he does as a blacksmith e.g. the War Horse Memorial and the Golden Gates at Wood Norton Hall.

Community Group Award- Freedom Day Centre (from Badsey) – an amazing centre that provides a safe, warm, learning environment to adults with learning disabilities.

Lifetime Achievement Award- Roy Small (from Drakes Broughton) – for his dedication (over 40yrs) to Drakes Broughton Parish Council and the village.