BILL McCall, who masterminded the ambitious scheme to restore Pickering's landmark Memorial Hall, has been presented with the town Rotary Club's prestigious Service Before Self Award.

A former mayor of the town, he has lived in Pickering for 13 years, during which time he has become one of its most significant stalwarts. Mr McCall was the project manager for the £850,000 scheme to give the 19th century hall a complete new look, and provide the Pickering community with an imposing new centre, but the fight to win funding from outside agencies was tough, he said.

"We had been turned down twice previously for grant aid before we finally succeeded," he recalled. Today, the hall is recognised as one of the finest examples of a community centre in North Yorkshire.

More recently, Mr McCall played a major role in helping Pickering Town Football Club, of which he is vice-chairman, to win chartered status, by putting together a business plan which he says will help it secure funding as a community football club.

Mr McCall said: "I am a great believer in communities. They can be successfully motivated. There is a tremendous amount of community work done in such places as Pickering."

Both he and his wife, Angela, are actively involved in many aspects of Pickering's community life, especially the Memorial Hall.

The Rotary Club award, a crystal bowl presented by the president, Peter Illingworth, was given after Mr McCall's name had been put forward by the town clerk of Pickering, Andrew Husband.

Updated: 11:01 Wednesday, April 23, 2003