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Pheasant is game

Journalist Peter Pheasant has proved he’s more than just a dab hand at the keyboard – because his community work has been recognised with a prestigious local award.

Peter, who edits Northcliffe Electronic Publishing’s Crimezone website, has been named one of 11 winners of the 2000 Mayor’s Award in his home town of Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

He received the award for his work with the 7th Ilkeston Scout group.

Peter was chairman of a committee set up by Scouts’ parents to help revamp a building for use as the Scout headquarters, and spent five years helping to raise the £9,000 – and rolling up his sleeves – to see through the refurbishment.

He said: “I feel proud that the work of a small bunch of parents who saw a gigantic task ahead of them and followed it through has been honoured.

“But let this be a warning to other journalists who go along to meetings to support their kids – that’s all I did and suddenly, someone dug me in the ribs and my hand shot up!

“The fact that I helped to turn what was basically a huge shed into a well-equipped, well-decorated community hall with six other rooms is a standing joke to my mates, who have coined the phrase PIY (Pete-It-Yourself) after me.

“There was once a time when people visiting my house would say “oh, I see you’ve put up another strip of wallpaper…” yet there I was, spending my Sundays, with a small group of other sad dads, humping great sheets of plasterboard around, balancing them on our heads while we balanced on wonky tables and chairs and tried to get a nail into a timber ceiling frame that at times seemed non-existent…

“My kids hardly saw me at weekends for a couple of years and, would you believe it, by the time the building was completed, they’d lost interest in the Cubs and Scouts and dropped out.

“Somebody had to do it, I suppose, and my years of making contacts as a journalist in the town where I live came in handy as I fired off dozens of begging letters to businesses and groups such as Rotary and the Soroptimists.

“All I know is that next time I go to one of those meetings, I’ll sit quietly at the back of the hall with my head down!”

Erewash Mayor Coun Pam Phillips said at the ceremony: “The hard work and constant effort which is given by such people helps many people of our community in their day-to-day lives but, unfortunately, this work often goes unrecognised.”

  • Prior to his website work, Peter’s career to date has included a spell as a sub-editor then acting chief sub at the Derby Evening Telegraph, as well as a weekly newspaper career that took him from trainee reporter to editor of the Ilkeston Advertiser.

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