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Big C celebrates its volunteers

Big C celebrates its volunteers throughout county

Nearly 250 volunteers for the Big C have clocked up almost 40,000 hours of unpaid work for the County’s Cancer charity during the past year, equating to £281,000 of support.

Their unstinting work is across four main areas, retail through 10 stores and warehouses; support and information through the support centres at Norwich, Kings Lynn, Yarmouth and within the Louise Hamilton Centre at Gorleston and Cromer Hospital; fund-raising and events to raise funds, street collections etc and assisting with administration and finance.

Their commitment was recognised and celebrated at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Day held yesterday at the King’s Centre, Norwich, (Sept 23) where former trustee and now Vice-president Theresa Cossey MBE presented long service awards to 22 volunteers who between them had clocked up about 200 years. The awards are given for every five years service so among the audience of staff and trustees were others who had also volunteered for many years, but who will receive certificates on other years.

The highest number of years recognised, 20 years, was for Valerie Mace who has worked at all three Big C retail stores in Norwich. She first started volunteering at Castle Meadow just one day week and began for no other reason than she wanted to help and enjoyed meeting people.

She has happy recollections of the move to the Timberhill Store and of the “regulars” who frequented the store, many, she said, just for a chat, as they do now at the Magdalen Street premises where she is every Tuesday. Valerie has her own cancer story. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and is now in remission, so her volunteering is now more personal.

Marjorie Wilson was also recognised for her two decades of volunteering but unable to be present to collect her certificate. During the afternoon Dr Chris Bushby, presenting at his first major event since he joined the charity as Chief Executive in July this year, thanked the volunteers for their commitment and invaluable contribution.

He spoke on the dynamics of Big C , setting out statistics for cancer diagnosis and mortality rates in East Anglia against the national rates, highlighting how Norfolk and Suffolk incidences of death through cancer are dramatically lower locally. He also outlined the way the Big C is operating through partnership working with other cancer charities throughout the county and announced plans for 2016, when the Big C celebrates its 35th anniversary.

Family therapist Stephanie Barker outlined the contribution of Family Therapy to supportive care for cancer patients. Deputy CEO and Director of Operations Nikki Morris reminded the audience of Big Cs values which have contributed to its ongoing success.

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