7th June 2017 – Every year, The Royal Star & Garter Homes in Solihull holds a special awards ceremony to thank its volunteers for sharing their skills and friendship with the disabled veterans who live in the Home.
This year, volunteers enjoyed an evening function followed by a sit-down buffet meal. Home Manager, Cheryl Harbourne, presented awards for one-year and five-year’s service. She commented, “It’s always lovely to celebrate our volunteers and to share a special evening with them recognising their contribution.”
Ann Benefield received her award for five years’ volunteering. Ann offered her services after her husband passed away and she wanted to pay homage to his interests, “My husband was interested in anything military. He’d spend hours asking my father about his time in the Navy.” When she saw The Royal Star & Garter Homes were looking for volunteers, she instantly felt a connection and decided to get in touch, “I felt things had come full circle.” Ann visits the Solihull Home twice a week to help with trips and outings. During her time she has become good friends with many of the residents, “The residents are like my family. I’m so grateful to them and I enjoy every minute of my time with them.”
Don Cottrell is another of the many dedicated volunteers at Solihull. He has been a volunteer since 2010 and has plenty of stories to tell. Don started volunteering after his wife, Mary, passed away. Mary was a resident of the Solihull Home, and Don would visit her every day. He remembers the support and care Mary received and how staff would go the extra mile. “We had our 50th wedding anniversary at the Home. All the family came. It was such a wonderful day.” After Mary died, Don decided to volunteer so he could help other veterans. Don spends much of his time one-to-one with residents or in small group chats. He commented, “The residents have done so much for us, it’s giving a little bit back. There’s so many really interesting people. It’s a wonderful place.”
The Charity is extremely grateful to all of the volunteers and supporters who make it possible to offer the exceptional levels of care to disabled ex-Service men and women in our Homes.