VIDEO: Skegness honours two special citizens at unveiling of renovated original Jolly Fisherman paintings

Skegness has honoured two of its citizens who have "gone beyond the norm" with awards at a special ceremony which also saw the original Jolly Fisherman paintings by John Hassall were unveiled after their renovation.

John Byford received the town's highest recognition of Honoured Citizen for his public service in promoting the resort at home and abroad, as well his contribution to promoting the arts. Only a handful of citizens have received this honour since it was first awarded in 1979 to former councillor, Elsa Barratt.

Janice Sutton - who has staged variety shows along the Skegness coast and in the West End for over 60 years - was awarded the Skegness Community Award, which is given in recognition of someone who does not necessarily live in Skegness but who has made a contribution to Skegness’ community.

The awards were presented at the Tower Gardens Pavilion ahead of its reopening to the public by the new Mayor of Skegness Coun Trevor Burnham.

John Byford (left) and Janice Sutton (right) in front of the renovated original Jolly Fisherman paintings, with the Mayor and Mayoress of Skegness, Coun Trevor Burnham and his wife, Jane, at the Tower Gardens Pavilion in Skegness.

Coun Burnham said: "Awards are only occasionally made, and this would usually take place at the Annual Council meeting.

"This year with the pandemic restrictions on large gatherings still in place, this is not possible.

"However, we felt that presenting the awards in front of the most iconic symbols (the Jolly Fisherman paintings) of Skegness would give this moment real meaning.

"The Honoured Citizen award has only been given once in the last 10 years and the list of Honoured Citizens which hangs in our Community Hall,

John Byford's name has been added to the plaque bearing the names of Skegness' Honoured Citizens.

displays the names of the distinguished people who have received the award.

"John Byford is not only well-known for public service and being a professional photographer but has been instrumental in promoting arts and culture in the area and moreover promoting Skegness widely within the UK and abroad.

"John has a huge interest in the Jolly Fisherman and has helped preserve and retain this iconic image for Skegness. He has organised events, appeared on TV and worked to maintain the important cultural links between Skegness and the people of our twinned town in Bad Gandersheim.

"It is therefore with great pleasure that I present the award of Honoured Citizen to John, not only on behalf of Skegness Town Council, but also on behalf of the people of Skegness.

"Janice Sutton has been doing this for over 60 years through dance.

"Since the early shows and performances at the Derbyshire Miners Holiday Centre, audiences, performers and especially young people have been touched by her talent and generosity.

"So many young people have gained, growing in stature and confidence due to the opportunities offered by Janice through her dance school

and they in turn have often enrolled their own children."

*For the full story and pictured, see this week's Skegness Standard newspaper.