A MUSICIAN who has made an "important contribution to making Hexham a hotspot for traditional music" has received prestigious recognition.

David Oliver has finally been appointed as the town’s Honorary Steward and Bailiff for 2020 - a year later than originally planned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The historic title is awarded annually by Hexham Town Council, to recognise, thank and celebrate those special people who contribute to making Hexham a vibrant and happy community.

Traditionally, the award would be presented at the Mayor's Annual Reception, but it was cancelled last March due to the pandemic, and could not take place this year either.

Now Hexham's Mayor, Coun. Bob Hull, has revealed that 2020's chosen recipient will receive his award, retrospectively, this week.

Coun. Hull said that over many years, the popular Mr Oliver had nurtured and encouraged young folk musicians, including through the Folkworks Youth School, introducing countless young people throughout the region to folk music.

In doing so, Mr Oliver had been vital to many young singers excelling with the town's community choir, and also introducing people to the world of ceilidh.

Coun. Hull added: "He has contributed enormously to the success of the Hexham Village Band with his accordion playing. He plays as well in the most recent of his own bands, Hedgehog’s Skin.

"I am delighted therefore to have the honour, belatedly, on behalf of Hexham Town Council, to appoint David Oliver as the town’s Honorary Steward and Bailiff for 2020.

"I hope in the next few days to be able to present him with his certificate."

A well known and respected local figure, Mr Oliver is a stalwart of town twinning and in the past has been a chairman of Hexham Golf Club, its senior Reivers' section, and organised the club's juniors alongside another familiar face, Mike Younger.

The town council launched the Honorary Steward and Bailiff Award 20 years ago.

Coun. Hull added: "There are many residents in Hexham who help their neighbours, support local groups or do amazing things for the community. "That’s why 20 years ago Hexham Town Council launched its Honorary Steward and Bailiff Award.

"Historically this was a post, the holder of which ran the administration of the town.

"The council decided to award the honorary title to recognise, thank and celebrate those special people who contribute to making Hexham the vibrant happy community that it is.

"Each year councillors nominate an individual in the town who they believe deserves recognition and the council then chooses the recipient."