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Truro community award winner shrugs off heart problems

By West Briton  |  Posted: November 17, 2012

Geoff Yelland has been named co-ordinator of the year for his community work.

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A COMMUNITY activist from Truro who has overcome serious heart problems has won a prestigious regional award.

Geoff Yelland, 75, has brought about a revolution on Furniss Island with swathes of overgrowth being removed from the river area, the installation of new concrete bases for benches, new signs and an area set aside for the growing of edible plants.

Mr Yelland won the co-ordinator of the year title at the Devon and Cornwall Community Watch Association (Daccwa) awards and many others from Truro were also rewarded for their strong community spirit.

Sergeant Miles Topham, from Truro police, said: "This garden is used by all ages of the community ranging from mothers with their babies to the elderly sitting on the benches enjoying the river views.

"Geoff has the foresight to involve the police, Truro City Council parks and gardens team, Cornwall Council, the Community Payback team and many other voluntary organisations who are now all working together to make the island a safer and more attractive area .

"Geoff works tirelessly for others within his community but does not want the recognition he deserves."

Mr Yelland has worked with the police to pull together data that has helped to secure police dispersal orders for the area resulting in a reduction in antisocial behaviour.

The pensioner was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital at Truro with heart problems in the summer and has reduced his role in the work on Furniss Island but it still heavily involved.

Mr Yelland said: "I was pretty surprised when I got the award – when they announced it I nearly fell out of the chair.

"The main achievement I think is the improvements in the park – people feel it is a safer place to sit and walk through."

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