An enthusiastic crowd of charity volunteers and guests celebrated the vital contributions of those always prepared to go the extra mile at the Woking Volunteer of the Year Awards 2019.
Our fifth annual event by Greenoak Community Focus and Greenoak Housing Association, was held at the WWF Living Planet Centre, where nominees and members of more than 20 local charities gathered to hear this year’s winners announced.
They were welcomed in the opening address by Woking Mayor Cllr Beryl Hunwicks, who spoke in praise of the “fantastic work that you all do”.
The winner of Volunteer of the Year Award was Tom Landais, a support group worker at CornerHouse. Tom regularly supports depression and anxiety groups and helps the staff in delivering themed wellbeing courses. Working with the charity has inspired him to embarked on a career in mental health care, taking on counselling training and a Masters degree in psychiatry. As winner, Tom received a cheque for £2,500 for his charity and a personal gift voucher of £50.
The three runners-up received a cheque for £500 for their charity and a personal gift of £25. They were Christine Reynard of West Surrey Mediation Services, Wendy Cheesman of the York Road Project, and Kanu Patel from Anandmilan/Vadil Parivar Elderly Club and Community Group.
Tim Nugent-Young was named Young Volunteer of the Year, an award in recognition of dedicated young volunteers aged 16-25 who have demonstrated outstanding commitment. Tim received a £1,000 cheque for the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, where he supports a group of male outpatients who attend day care and helps at fundraising events. The two runners-up were Ben Lawrence of Cycling Projects – Surrey Wheels for All, and Jack Bedford of RSPCA Surrey Woking & District branch, who received £500 cheques for their charities.
Two special awards were also presented to recognise Lifetime Community Service Achievement, whose winners won £1,000 for their charities. These were Chris Atkins, who has been supporting clients with employment problems at Citizens Advice Woking for 25 years, and John Dumbleton, who has been volunteering with Surrey Care Trust for more than seven years, mentoring young people with behavioural issues who have been excluded from school.
Cllr Will Forster closed the event thanking Greenoak and ‘was delighted to speak at and help host the Woking Volunteer of the Year Awards. It was great to say thank you to some amazing volunteers, many of them I meet during my recent year as Mayor of Woking. I know first hand that without volunteers our Borough would grind to a halt, which is why I was so pleased to say thank you and well done to all the volunteers at the event at WWF.’
Watch the highlights of the ceremony here!