AN author who has inspired the community to come together through his passion for writing, plants, books and history is set to become the first Honorary Freeman of Winsford.

Winsford dad-of-two John Malam is recommended to receive the prestigious honour at a meeting of Cheshire West and Chester Council on Thursday evening.

The 62-year-old children's author has published more than 200 non-fiction books and runs school workshops across the UK and Europe.

John dresses as a first world war soldier to bring history to life and writes about all sorts of history topics ranging from ancient Egypt and the Romans to Pompei and the Spanish Armada.

Winsford Guardian:

John dressed as a soldier in the First World War at Winsford memorial

John, who came to Winsford in 1997, helped organise the campaign which led to the adoption of the Winsford Neighbourhood Plan, and has also set up an annual open day for schoolchildren at Over Allotments, where he has a plot.

Winsford Guardian:

John with Viv Kettle and former Winsford town mayor Cllr Gina Lewis at a plant sale at Winsford Cross Shopping Centre organised by Over Allotments Association

John set up Friends of Winsford Town Park, organises regular community litter-picks, supported a friends group at the library and was a school governor.

Winsford Guardian:

John organises community litter picks with Friends of Winsford Town Park

Mikron Theatre perform in the town every year, thanks to his instigation.

"I am immensely honoured to become an Honorary Freeman of the borough," said John, from Wharton, who has a degree in ancient history and archaeology. "It emboldens me to carry on doing what I have been doing quietly without any fuss.

"I love seeing people come together. It's all about empowering people who may not know each other, building communities."

John says voluntary work is very rewarding and motivating.

"If there's one thing I've learned over the years it's about bringing people together, finding something in common and then working towards shared goals," said John.

"That's how it's been with the Friends of Winsford Town Park. The group has quickly found its place in the community and has worked hard to make the park an attractive space for the community to enjoy."

Besides the planting and weeding, volunteers organised Party in the Park and created and published a Winsford 2020 calendar, inviting photographers to submit images of the town.

Winsford Guardian:

John created and published a calendar Winsford 2020 inviting photographers to submit images of the town

John said he could not have succeeded without the support of his wife Hilary.

"She knows more than anyone else that when I get involved with something I give it 100 per cent."

Winsford Guardian:

John said he could not have succeeded in all his community projects without the support of his wife Hilary

CWAC Winsford Cllr Mike Baynham, who made the nomination, said: "It is testament to John and all the organisations he belongs to. This is great for him and great for Winsford.

"Many people have been touched by the things he has done and made a lot of friends.

"John is an ambassador. I am glad he is being recognised. We should all be very proud of his honour."

Winsford Guardian:

John and his wife Hilary at Winsford Town Park where he devotes hours with the friends group weeding and tidying

CWAC locality librarian and former Winsford librarian Ian Anstice said:“I have known John for over two decades during which time he has always been on hand to help the library.

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"He often assisted doing children’s events, including sessions on book writing, and, memorably, being dressed up as a First World War soldier, and spent several years volunteering his valuable time to us on our friends group. He was a regular and friendly face and I am delighted to see him honoured in this way.”