Three locals were recognised by the Basingstoke Voluntary Service in an award ceremony held last week in the presence of our Mayor, Cllr. Barry Jackman and Mayoress, Sandra.
Awards were presented by The Worshipful The Mayor of Basingstoke & Deane Cllr David Leeks to three people from Whitchurch: Gladys Butler, Joyce Dixson and John Buckley.
Our mayor, Cllr Jackman said, “It was an honour for Sandra and I to be present as three of our folk here in Whitchurch rightly received recognition for the part they play in this town and beyond as volunteers in their respective fields.”
He continued, “We were overjoyed, excited, and honoured to support them.”
Our congratulations – and thanks! – to all three; and to the many others who regularly help friends, relatives and strangers everyday in Whitchurch. You make us all proud to call Whitchurch home.
Below are the citations read out at the ceremony…
Kingfisher Day Centre
After being widowed at the age of 74, Gladys decided to become a volunteer at the Kingfisher Day Centre in Whitchurch. She wanted to help those less fortunate than herself. For almost eight years she has worked tirelessly, improving the lives of so many of our srvice users.
Throughout those years she has taken on various roles such as mini-bus escort, kitchen assistant/washer upper, “tea lady”, helping users with personal hygiene, cleaner, friend and confidant, and she helps at all our fund raising events. There is nothing that Gladys will not turn her hand to. She is always the first one to volunteer an extra day when we are short staffed and now at the grand age of 82 she still works three full days a week and absolutely refuses to take things easy.
She is a superb role model for older people everywhere and really deserves this award.
British Blind Sport
Jo Dixson is visually impaired and has a guide dog. She is a volunteer for British Blind Sport and helps coach blind and visually impaired youngsters and adults to play tenpin bowling not just in Basingstoke but nationally. She also arranges collections for the charity and fundraises endlessly.
She is a dynamic person, despite her disability, and drives up enthusiasm without thinking of herself. She has helped turn around the lives of blind and Visually Impaired people and put smiles on the faces of those who previously thought they could not join in at all.
One such lady – we’ll call her ‘Jane’ – was quite desperate and would not go out of the house due to her severe visual impairment. Once Jo had coached her and shown her how to play tenpin bowling she now goes out several times a week, has made new friends and is having fun. Jane has made a huge impact and thoroughly deserves this award.
John has worked on many projects to support the Whitchurch Association. These include websites for the town, the Association, the Gill Nethercott Centre and the Arts project; graphic design and content for a business leaflet for the town; initial concept, creative design and project management of the Arts Project; ground work and research for a cycle routes leaflet for the area surrounding Whitchurch.
He represents the town website at the Groups Together meetings, where information and plans of local volunteer groups are shared.
He has been involved in Whitchurch’s winning BT Faster Broadband campaign, and has supported the town in organising many events.
As well as using his technical expertise, John has gone to great lengths to help everyone working on these projects, with advice, patience and courtesy, often working to difficult time scales and in very pressurised circumstances.
He seeks no personal reward and always keeps a low profile, but he is a highly valued volunteer.