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Thursday, 02 July 2015

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West Cumbrian volunteers honoured for their work

Volunteers who give up their time to help in the West Cumbrian community were honoured at an awards ceremony on Wednesday.

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MAYOR ELECT: Coun Andrew Lawson

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 volunteers with organisations which have been helped by the NMP Community Fund.

Maryport’s Sharon Barnes picked up the prize in the working together category for her work for Ewanrigg and Netherton Tenants’ and Residents’ Association.

As well as being secretary, she prepares meals for 40 people at the weekly coffee and crack group and at three Christmas events, organises Friday bingo sessions and arranges trips for residents.

Sharon, 49, of Edinburgh Road, was up against Susan Earley of Brigham Memorial Hall for the award.

Sharon 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.”

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.

Andrew, who is also the mayor of Workington, 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.”

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.”

Also shortlisted in the trustee category was Carol Tindall, of Flimby Community Hall and Youth Group, but the trophy was won by Benny Quayle, of North Copeland Youth Partnership.

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 from a rundown venture into a refurbished venue.

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.”

Other winners included Peter Bartlett, of the Centre for Complementary Care at Muncaster, for the overcoming adversity award. Nathaniel Riley, of Howgill Family Centre boys’ group, was named young person of the year, and the volunteers of Whitehaven and Egremont Credit Union won the award for raising aspirations of adults.

Everyone at the ceremony was asked to vote for an overall winner, which went to Mr Bartlett.

Each winner received a trophy, a donation for their organisation and a hamper.

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, director of the community foundation, said it was hoped the awards ceremony could be rolled out across Cumbria to all organisations supported via the foundation.


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