Dreams came true for Uckfield winners

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A young businesswoman and one of Uckfield’s best-known community stalwarts have received awards from the town’s Rotarians.

Ailsa Jones was presented with the Uckfield Rotary Club’s Making Dreams Come True award at Monday night’s meeting.

The award was set up by the Rotary Club in 2009 in memory of Pte Daniel Gamble, the 100th British serviceman to die serving his country in Afghanistan.

Linguist and rifleman Pte Gamble, 22, from Uckfield, and two fellow soldiers from the Second Battalion, The Parachute Regiment were on patrol in Helmand Province when they were killed by a suicide bomber on June 8, 2008.

The Rotary Club’s award offers £1,000 to a local young adult, aged 16-25, living in Uckfield or a surrounding village, to enable them to pursue their dream. There are no limits to what the award will fund – it is up to the applicant to persuade the judges of the merits of their application.

Ailsa Jones, the 2013 winner, intends to use the £1,000 towards training she needs to follow her chosen career in the dog grooming industry. Already partly trained, she is now on an 18 month course that will give her the qualifications she needs to set up her own business.

Previous winners have used the money to fund teaching in Ethiopia, a placement in Africa as part of a medical degree, advanced level music studies and photographic equipment to support further study.

As a world-wide service organisation, Rotary International seeks to recognise outstanding service to the community. It does this by means of the Rotary Community Service Award and the Rotary Club of Uckfield presented their award to Dorothy Sparks, in respect of her contribution to many aspects of life in Uckfield. It is the first time the club has made such an award.

As well as her time as a member of Uckfield Town Council and the governing body of Uckfield Community Technology College, Dorothy has been actively involved with the Uckfield Millennium Green, Brighter Uckfield, Uckfield Festival and other bodies. She was the driving force behind last year’s Uckfield Olympic torch run. When she discovered the town was to be by-passed by the Olympic flame en route from Crowborough to Lewes, she decided to organise the Uckfield run which proved a huge success. Rotary Club president Geoff Davies said: “If it’s happening in Uckfield, Dorothy is probably involved somehow!” More than 30 members and partners applauded the two worthy winners.