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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

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Community volunteers in Cumbria honoured at awards ceremony

Volunteers who give up their time to help in the community have been honoured at an awards ceremony.

Awards volunteers photo
From left, Gary Hewer (Distington Club for Young People), Benny Quayle (North Copeland Youth Partnership), Sharon Barnes (Ewanrigg and Netherton Tenants’ and Residents’ Association), Peter Bartlett (Centre for Complementary Therapy at Muncaster), Andrew Lawson (West Cumbria Trades Hall Centre), Bob Wood and Linda Daw (both Whitehaven and Egremont Credit Union) and Nathaniel Riley (Howgill Family Centre boys’ group)

Seven winners were chosen from 18 nominees in the inaugural Volunteer Achievement Awards organised by Cumbria Community Foundation and Nuclear Management Partners.

The ceremony was held to recognise some of the many volunteers serving organisations which have been helped by the NMP Community Fund.

The trustee award went to Benny Quayle of North Copeland Youth Partnership, who beat Carol Green, of Safety Net and Carol Tindall, of Flimby Community Hall.

Benny, 71, of Parton, has built up the organisation, which covers Parton, Lowca and Moresby and now has three youth workers.

He said: “You don’t expect anything when you’re doing voluntary work. You do it because you like it.

“I’m very proud that the kids have put me through.”

Peter Bartlett, of the Centre for Complementary Therapy in Muncaster took the prize in the overcoming adversity category, beating Anne Bailey of Brigham Memorial Hall.

Peter, 59, of Beckermet, who has multiple sclerosis, has volunteered at the centre on Wednesdays for three years.

He said: “I’m amazed. It’s just great to receive the award on behalf of the centre because there are so many volunteers who turn up and give their time.”

Nathaniel Riley of Whitehaven picked up the young person’s award in recognition of his efforts with Howgill Family Centre’s boys’ club.

Nathaniel, 18, who has just started university, volunteered at the centre for at least two hours every Tuesday and did fundraising at weekends.

He said: “I’m very proud and very happy.

“I wasn’t really expecting to win. It was amazing to be nominated.”

He beat Mathew Rogan and Sophie Skinner, both of North Copeland Youth Partnership.

The working together award went to Sharon Barnes of Ewanrigg and Netherton Tenants’ and Residents’ Association in Maryport.

The 49-year-old, of Edinburgh Road, is secretary of the association and makes food for 40 people at the weekly coffee and crack group and at three Christmas events, organises Friday bingo sessions and arranges trips for residents.

She was up against Susan Earley of Brigham Memorial Hall for the award.

She said: “I’m amazed. I only make dinner for folk. I don’t do it on my own. I’m part of a group of lasses who are brilliant.”

Distington Club for Young People trustee Gary Hewer won the professional volunteer category.

Gary, 43, of Main Street, has been a trustee for 17 years and has turned the club around.

He beat 11th Workington Scout Group camp warden Mervyn Cowling and Egremont Rugby Union FC volunteer Sue Peet to the award.

Gary said: “I’m shocked. It’s just part of my life. As long as I’m breathing I’ll keep it going.

“I was a member of the club myself and it’s nice to give something back.”

Mayor of Workington Andrew Lawson took the award for raising aspirations of young people, beating Greysouthen’s John Chipps of Life Education Centres Cumbria.

The 21-year-old, of Napier Street, is an active board member at West Cumbria Trades Hall Centre.

He said: “I’m very honoured. This isn’t just an award for me; it’s an award for the Trades Hall Centre and all the hard work the staff and volunteers do.”

The award for raising aspirations among adults went to all the volunteers of Whitehaven and Egremont Credit Union.

They beat Ann Healey and Simon Robinson, both of Age UK West Cumbria.

Linda Daw, a director of the credit union, said: “Without all the volunteers we couldn’t function. We are very, very pleased.”

A public vote was then held among everyone at the ceremony, which saw Peter named volunteer of the year.

Meanwhile, Keswick’s Carol Green, who was a founding trustee of child sexual and domestic abuse charity Safety Net, missed out on the trustee award.

But she received special recognition from High Sheriff Juliet Westoll, who presented her with a High Sheriff’s Award.

Carol, 49, said: “I’m overwhelmed. It was a surprise to be shortlisted in the first place. That was an honour.

“As a trustee you need a team around you so I thank the trustees and the staff for doing really professional work.”

The other winners were: overcoming adversity - Peter Bartlett of the Centre for Complementary Care at Muncaster. Young person – Nathaniel Riley of Howgill Family Centre boys’ group. Raising aspirations of adults – all volunteers of Whitehaven and Egremont Credit Union.

Each winner received a trophy, a donation for their organisation and a hamper by Richardson’s of Whitehaven.

The NMP Community Fund has so far given out 315 grants totally £1.65m.

Graham McKendry, general manager for NMP, said: “I think we have all found it very inspiring what all the volunteers and organisations represented tonight have done.

“Respect for others is a very important value and I think volunteering and giving up your time for the benefit of others is a very important thing to do.”

Deb Muscat, of the community foundation, said it was hoped the awards ceremony could be rolled out Cumbria-wide to all organisations supported via the foundation.

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