Sudbury: Diamond awards honour tireless helpers

FOUR big-hearted people from Suffolk have been named Diamond Champions for their outstanding volunteer work.

Diamond Champions – run by older people’s charity Women’s Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS) and supported by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall – recognises the contribution that people over the age of 60 make through volunteering.

The four volunteers were among 60 from east and south-east England to be given the champion title.

Mother-of-four Lesley Burrows, from Sudbury, was nominated for dedicating 16 years to supporting families and volunteers alike with Home-Start Babergh.

The 66-year-old said: “I am quite stunned really. I only joined Home-Start to help families and I didn’t think anything like this would ever happen.

“It is just a case of helping families with children under five that may have concerns such as multiple birth or loneliness and need a listening ear and friendly face.

“I go round and work with the family to give them help and confidence.”

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During her time with Home-Start, Mrs Burrows has supported nine families with various needs, from a widowed mother and a single parent to a disabled mother and a family with triplets.

The other winners in Suffolk were Dorothy Anderson, from Wickhambrook, who was nominated for her work with the Women’s Institute and launching a Literary Lunch; Teresa Doran, who ran a Brownie pack and is a volunteer driver for FACTS (a community transport scheme in Felixstowe); and James Walter, from Hadleigh, who has worked with Home-Start and Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce. The four were chosen by a judging panel which included Professor Amanda Sacker, of the University of Essex, Lord Lieutenant of Surrey Dame Sarah Goad and Managing Director of Archant Anglia, Johnny Hustler.

Debbi Fair, WRVS head of region for the East and South-East, said: “It is with great pleasure that we announce the 60 Diamond Champions from the East and South-East.

“They are truly deserving of the honour and it is justified recognition of the selfless work they do in their communities to help others.”