ST LAWRENCE CARAVANS - UNSUNG HERO
Winner - Gerald Peaty
Gerald, from Danbury is a co-founder of St Luke's Hospice in Basildon where he has been a fundraiser for the last 32 years. More than three decades have passed since Gerald and the other cofounders got the first set of keys to an old farmhouse which was to become the modern hospice. He still volunteers, and is Chairman of the board of Trustees. These days it costs over three million pounds a year to run St. Lukes Hospice service. Although some support is received from the Local Primary Care Trust, a very large proportion of the funds have to be raised directly by them selves. What’s more Gerald has recently also taken on the extra responsibility of working with additional Hospice premises in Thurrock. As a full time accountant Gerald has always cared and continued to look after the finances of the Hospice.
His daughter Helen says, “The hospice is Dads fourth child!”
Highly Commended - Rocio MacDonald
Rocio is part time manager at URC Church Witham. After her shift she visits the sick and helps in any way that is needed, with personal care or just sitting with somebody who is very lonely. She helps with housework whenever necessary and visits hospital when people are coming to the end of their lives. She shops for the elderly and she takes gifts to the lonely. People don’t have to ask for her help as she has a great sense of knowing where need is. Rocio does all of this as well as going to work and taking great care of her three young daughters and husband.
Her nominator Maureen Barry says,
“Rocio puts her faith into action in the most wonderful way, she has a caring heart and asks nothing for herself. She is an amazing woman, loved and appreciated
by so many sick, vulnerable and homeless people.
She is a hero to so many …yet so few know it.”
Highly Commended - Kitty Edwards
Kitty has been volunteering at Fair Havens Hospice for an astonishing 30 years. She was to become a volunteer for her local hospice in April 1986 after being inspired by the charity’s founder, Daphne Hall. She’s still there, helping patients with craft activities as well as providing refreshments in the kitchen. Kitty also helps train other Day Care volunteers. Kitty says, “I’ve loved every one of my 30 years volunteering at Fair Havens. I enjoy looking after the patients, the whole atmosphere is lovely.”
Kitty’s Volunteer Coordinator, Day Care Sister Janet Moring, said,
“Kitty is a very friendly lady who interacts well with patients. She has given so much in the past 30 years and she inspires other volunteers to do the same.”
Highly Commended - Steve Brandon
Steve from Colchester has Down syndrome, but never lets it stop him striving for an independent life. His involvement with ‘’Action for Family Carers’ was a big challenge. Family members accompanied him on his first few visits until he was confident of his route and where to get the bus. To begin with he was mostly helping out in the kitchen but over time has become a full member of the team, assisting with activities and encouraging others to become involved. He assists the Adult community support workers on a weekly basis, joining in discussions and games. He encourages clients to open up and talk and to participate in a variety of activities. He often has them in stitches with his conversations. The Adult Community support workers have nothing but high praise for Steve, and rate him as a huge asset. The members at the Mersea Island respite club love having him involved and have taken him to their hearts. Steve has gained in confidence, so much so, that he is now the star of the feature film, ‘My Feral Heart’, which won the audience award in the 2016 Cinequest film festival. Steve’s looking forward to a planned trip to America to promote the film and hoping the experience may help him get more work in the future. Look out George Clooney!
Nominator Sandra says
“Steve has become a valuable and committed volunteer,
he is a brilliant example of what a ‘can do’ attitude can achieve.”
Highly Commended - John McKay
John started volunteering in Basildon while he was still at work, spending his free time, evenings and weekends, attending community meetings, council meetings and volunteering on community projects. He is, or has been, engaged in running all kinds of community projects and clubs, many of which he set up. What people don’t know about John is that he is a disabled man who has broken almost every bone in his body through motorcycle accidents in his younger years. Often John will refuse a handshake because his hands are in too much pain. However, if a job needs doing in the community or a person needs a helping hand he rolls up his sleeves and presses on with things. Decorating a hall for a community event, fetching and carrying, up and down ladders, even in pain he won’t stop until the jobs done.
His Nominator Michelle Fairchild says
“I have never met a person as straight talking, so passionate about volunteering on behalf of the community. He describes himself as Marmite, he often says. “You either love me or hate me” …. I guess our community likes Marmite!”