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The only ‘Naturalised Ulverstonian’ recalls pride at receiving award

WHEN North-East native Ralph Spours set up home in Ulverston in 1971, he was told he would only be classed as a ‘local’ when he’s lived there for a generation.


After 30 years living in the town, Ralph held his neighbours to their word and applied to the council to officially become the first ‘Naturalised Ulverstonian’. The council obliged and presented him with a certificate confirming he was now an adopted Ulverstonian.


But when coverage of the certification was printed in The North West Evening Mail, the council was inundated with requests from others and it was duly stopped - meaning Ralph is the one and only Naturalised Ulverstonian.


Community hero: Former Heart of Ulverston host and winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Ralph Spours

There is no disputing that Ralph is an integral and popular member of the community, and receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Heart of Ulverston Awards in 2016 further proved the high regard in which he is held in the town he has called home for more than half a century.


The Heart of Ulverston Awards is making its return in May after a six-year absence, and Ralph is delighted that other worthy recipients will get to experience the thrill and excitement of receiving recognition for their efforts in the community.


Ralph, who was the host of the awards until they ended in 2018, said: “During the rehearsals, there was no mention that I was getting an award so I had no inkling whatsoever that my name would be read out as the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.


“I was waiting in the wings during a segment by the mayor when he said my name and I remember being absolutely stunned. It was extremely flattering, and I was knocked out by it especially as it came as such a surprise.


“As the only Naturalised Ulverstonian, I am incredibly proud to live in the town and it  was great recognition for my involvement in the community.”


Since moving to Ulverston, Ralph has been a key member of the community and runs a successful estates agent in the town, helps organise the annual Dickensian Festival and has helped raise more than £60,000 for local charities.


He said: “There’s many people in Ulverston who do lots of things for the benefit of others, and they do it without any ambition of getting a reward for it. They just do it because they’re extremely kind and nice.


“These people deserve recognition for the great work and time they dedicate to the community purely because they love the town so much, and that is why I’m so delighted that the Heart of Ulverston Awards are returning.”


The Lifetime Achievement Award is one of 13 awards in this year’s Heart of Ulverston Awards.


The category is sponsored by Ulverston Town Council which is a long-time supporter of the awards.


Councillor Helen Irving said: “Ulverston Town Council is fortunate to have been involved with the Heart of Ulverston Awards from the very beginning and is extremely proud to be allowed to continue its support of this fantastic community event.


“For this event to be up and running again is very special for the council and the people of Ulverston.


“There are so many unsung heroes in our local area who go over and above to help others, and it’s fantastic that some of these will be recognised for their work and dedication within the community.


“I would therefore urge people to submit nominations for these people so we can celebrate our community heroes and they can get the recognition that they deserve.”


The award categories are: Lifetime Achievement, Sports Performance of the Year, Employee of the Year, Teacher of the Year, Sports Volunteer of the Year, Business of the Year, Community Group of the Year, Outstanding Courage Award, Best Hospitality Venue, Business in the Community, Citizen of the Year, Helping Hand Award, and Apprentice of the Year.


To nominate somebody they think is worthy of special recognition, visit www.heartofulverston.co.uk/nominate


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