Rayleigh & Rochford District Association for Voluntary Service (RRAVS) celebrated the end of Volunteers Week by holding it’s Annual Volunteer Awards on Sunday 7th June in Rayleigh. The awards were sponsored by Bar Blanco, who provided the venue and The Cooperative Funeralcare, who provided the champagne.
Voluntary and Community groups were present to applaud those who, through their hard work and dedication, have made an outstanding contribution to the community.
The winners were presented with their awards by Portfolio Holder for Community, Cllr June Lumley.
Overcoming Adversity Through Volunteering – Graham Thomas was described as ‘a true hero and inspiration to all’ by the Salvation Army. Following a severe road traffic accident in 2000, Graham underwent neurological rehab and extensive physiotherapy before volunteering with the Salvation Army. Despite being hospitalised after being attacked in 2014 he was determined to continue volunteering and has clocked up around 10,000 hours.
Fundraiser of the Year – Team TC have worked tirelessly to help local mum of two Tracey Ralph ‘get back on her feet’ following a serious illness at Christmas that resulted in her having both legs amputated below the knee. Team TC have so far raised a staggering Â£230,000. This will make an amazing difference to Tracy’s future.
Team of the Year – Hockley Parkrun volunteers were commended for their enthusiasm and commitment in successfully launching the weekly free 5K park run in Hockley Woods in February 2015. Since then 938 different runners, including participants from 54 athletics clubs, have completed 2,473 runs covering a total distance of 12,365 km.
Outstanding Contribution to Animal Welfare – Gill Lewis of Crofters Rescue devotes most of her time to helping and comforting animals in danger or neglect. Gill also helps others look for missing dogs, or retrieve animals that need help.Â Her most recent case was Horace the Horse, a 3 day old foal who was neglected and abandoned. With Gill’s dedication he became a strong and people friendly foal.
Young Volunteer of the Year – Zoe Hall of Crofters Rescue is just 18 and works as a foster mum for dogs. She has done this since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. Zoe is now studying animal behaviour so she can help more dogs to find forever homes.
Volunteer of the Year – Phillip Ives of Pets As Therapy. Philip and his Labradoodle Poppy have brought hours of joy and laughter to residents at Timber Grove in Rayleigh and members at the Harbour Club. Somebody coping with a disability or illness often misses the love and companionship of an undemanding animal. Poppy’s visits to Timber Grove and the Harbour Club are great fun but also meaningful and therapeutic. Philip’s time and dedication to the charity, and the great bond he has with Poppy, is much appreciated by those they visit and is unique in the district.
Volunteering is so diverse and is it wonderful to see it bring so much joy to local residents.