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News Archive > General > Katís award for great idea to help spread festive joy

Katís award for great idea to help spread festive joy

By Jacob Double 21st October 2020

Katís award for great idea to help spread festive joy
Bodminís Katherine Blight, second from left, has received a Cornwall Civic Award

A Bodmin woman has been presented with a Cornwall Civic Award for a creative idea to support local children with additional needs.

Katherine Blight, 38, has been recognised for her work in setting up a Santa’s grotto that specialises in supporting autistic children in Bodmin.

When she found out she was receiving the award, she said: “I don’t know what to say to be honest. I never expected it.”

Katherine started the Christmas activity in 2018 because her six-year-old son, Logan, is autistic and she couldn’t find a suitable grotto

for him to visit.

“I never in a million years expected it to go as well as it has, let alone receive an award,” she told the Voice. Katherine, who is a full-time carer to her son, added: “But the award isn’t just for me, it’s for everyone who volunteers each year and for Santa taking time out of his busy schedule.”

She was given the recognition after a nomination from local Cornwall councillor, Pat Rogerson. Pat explained that she put Katherine forward for the accolade because she spotted her unwavering commitment to the project. The councillor said: “I am delighted and proud to have nominated Katherine for this prestigious award. Her commitment to this project, her creativity, and her sensitivity to our children with additional needs makes her a most worthy winner.

“Without her brilliant idea many local children would miss out on that exciting visit to Father Christmas. She and her team make it special Thank you, Kat."

Following the presentation, which took place at Flory Restaurant on Fore Street last week, chairman of the council, Hilary Frank commented: “It was a delight to meet with Katherine and see pictures of smiling children in the Santa's Grotto she set up for them. Katherine is creating happy memories that will last a lifetime.

“The awards would normally be presented in a large scale ceremony in the Council Chamber in County Hall, but in these days of covid restrictions I am making the presentations locally in ceremonies of less than six people.

“All the recipients are truly worthy, so it is a shame we are not able to recognise their contributions as part of a larger ceremony but making presentations in small-scale events actually gives me more time to talk with the individual recipients.”

The Cornwall Civic Awards are given annually to inspirational Cornish citizens in recognition of their outstanding contribution to community life in Cornwall. There are 36 recipients this year, nominated for a wide range of activities, and all have given their time, expertise and care to their community.

This year, due to covid-19 restrictions, Katherine and her team are doing personalised videos, a gift, reindeer food and a personalised letter from Santa. However, in ordinary years ‘The Autism Friendly Santa’s Grotto’ would be open to everyone.

Visits are limited to 20 people so noise and disruption is kept to a minimum. Along with a visit to see Santa, each ticket includes a gift, crafts, and stalls with Christmas items for sale.

By Jacob Double 21st October 2020

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