When Jacky Charman dedicated herself to bringing carnival fun to Gosport, she can hardly have imagined that it would lead her to being chosen as the greatest local hero in the town’s long and rich history.
Neither did she set off on her task with the intention of trying to write her name into history.
For her, it was all about giving people an opportunity to enjoy themselves and at the same time forge a stronger sense of community.
She has achieved much on both fronts and that is why her honour is so deserved.
That doesn’t demean from the other famous names who made up the 20-strong list of residents past and present of Gosport and Fareham from which the vote was taken.
The life of each was celebrated in a joint exhibition between the Westbury Manor Museum in Fareham and the Gosport Gallery which attracted widespread interest during its three-month stint.
Those honoured included historians, inventors, musicians and a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
All could have been worthy winners of the accolade but we are pleased that Jacky’s contribution to the local community has been particularly recognised.
It seems hard to believe that it is now 10 years since the Nimrod Community Centre worker decided that Rowner deserved a little slice of Rio.
Since then, thousands of people young and old have joined in the carnival fun, planning in earnest for the big day and enjoying an consequent uplifting procession of fun and frivolity.
Jacky is typically modest in receiving her award, saying: ‘Anybody can do amazing things and if I can help people realise that then that’s a fabulous day’s work.’
It’s a further indication of her pride in her community that she is thrilled that her award has led her to be asked to open a fete at Bridgemary School.
It’s another example of people getting together to organise something worthwhile that brings enjoyment to all.
Britain need heroes like Jacky Charman.