Rushden award winner's novel approach to volunteering speaks volumes

A woman who has dedicated her life to books and encouraging reading for pleasure has been honoured at an annual awards ceremony.

By Alison Bagley
Wednesday, 4th December 2019, 4:05 pm
l-r Carl Tate, carol Cook, Sarah Peacock, Dominica Jones, Simon Peacock, Amy Richardson and Ketan Keshwala.
l-r Carl Tate, carol Cook, Sarah Peacock, Dominica Jones, Simon Peacock, Amy Richardson and Ketan Keshwala.

Former Rushden librarian Dominica Jones was named the winner of this year's Susan Hollowell Award for her work in the town.

Mrs Jones was nominated for her work with Home-Start, as a volunteer reading helper and for her work at the Salvation Army shop where she organises the books.

She said: "It was a surprise to be nominated and having listened to all the other nominees I was surprised to win. It's quite an honour and nice to be appreciated because it's quite a lot of work."

Dominica Jones winner of the Susan Hollowell Memorial Award 2019

It was after she had retired from Rushden Library that Mrs Jones carried on her love of books working in local schools and the library as a trained reading helper.

She split her time in helping young families as a Home-Start volunteer. But when she popped in to the Salvation Army store in Rushden she found another outlet for her passion for reading - the second hand book shop.

She set about organising the stock, sorted the books for local book groups, provided reviews and raised as much as £800 in one week in October alone.

She said: "One in eight schools don't have a library and town libraries are closing. I get such pleasure when children read. We can offer affordable good quality books and thanks to the generosity of the local community we put out the best books and and sell them cheaply."

l-r Simon Peacock (Susan Hollowell's grandson), winner Dominica Jones, Sarah Peacock (Susan Hollowell's daughter)

The Susan Hollowell Award is the annual award is organised by Rushden-based charity Serve in memory of Susan Hollowell, who died in 2002 aged 63.

She was a committed volunteer in the town, chairman of Northamptonshire and Rushden Age Concern and also helped to set up Serve.

Sarah Peacock, who is Susan Hollowell’s daughter, said: “It's nice that it continues every year and gives us a chance to acknowledge the people in the community who volunteer their services. I look forward to next year."

The awards were handed out at the annual Sing for Serve Christmas carol concert.

Nominees included: Amy Richardson and Ketan Kehwala who are befrienders with Nene Valley Community Action; Angela Lees, a volunteer at Serve; Lee Henty, a volunteer at the community mental health allotment project; Carl Tate, a charity fundraiser for Serve and Carol Cook, a long-term volunteer with Headway East Northants and Home-Start.

Awards co-ordinator Jenny Standen, community support officer for Serve, said: "We would like to thank all the performers - The 60's Club Band, South End Junior School, Ferrers School, Park Road Baptist Music Group and Cornelia Dizuba who put on a fantastic concert. I would also like to thank the Rotary Club who acted as stewards and Mike Neville who compered the event."