A LEOMINSTER man who has been commended as having a "calming and uplifting presence" has won a national award for his work.

Mark Townsend was named Celebrant of the Year at the 2020 Association of Independent Celebrants (AOIC) Celebrant Awards.

A celebrant is a person who performs or officiates ceremonies, and whilst commonly seen at weddings they can also conduct other ceremonies like vow renewals, baby namings, funerals, interments and memorials.

Mr Townsend received 'a very high' number of nominations and was praised for his “calming and uplifting presence and true dedication to every ceremony.”

A statement from the The AOIC team Association of Independent Celebrants said: "It’s clear to see that Mark has been going above and beyond to make funerals special for families during the pandemic – one nomination described him as 'a treasure to families when they’re going through some of the most difficult times in their lives.'

"So congratulations to Mark – and congratulations to everyone who was nominated for this award.

"It was inspiring to see what wonderful testimonials people were writing about our members and it’s clear that you’ve all been doing an outstanding job for your families and couples."