Volunteers thanked for years of support at Irthlingborough charity

Joint winners Joan Simpson and Paula Davies
Joint winners Joan Simpson and Paula Davies

Two women who have been volunteering at a charity for a combined total of nearly 40 years have been honoured for their efforts.

Paula Davies and Joan Simpson both volunteer for Headway East Northants and were named as joint winners of this year’s Susan Hollowell Award.

All the winners and nominees at the Sing for Serve concert in Rushden

All the winners and nominees at the Sing for Serve concert in Rushden

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.

Joan, who has been a volunteer at Headway for 17 years, and Paula, who has been helping out for 20 years, were presented with their certificates and trophy at the annual Sing for Serve carol concert at Park Road Baptist Church in Rushden last week.

Headway East Northants is based in Irthlingborough and provides support and services to individuals, family members and carers affected by an acquired brain injury.

Paula said they help out with various activities at the charity, including fundraising and arts and crafts sessions.

But what she really loves is seeing the improvement in people who go to Headway, such as with their speech.

Speaking about their joint win, Joan said it was a ‘lovely surprise.’

A post on the Facebook page for Headway East Northants congratulated the ladies on their win, and said: “Paula and Joan have volunteered at Headway East Northants for 20 years and are involved in a wide range of activities with our service users, as well as tirelessly fundraising.

“They are shining examples of volunteers and are held in the highest esteem by everyone here.”

A number of other people from various organisations including Cancer Research, Serve and Northamptonshire Carers were nominated for the award, which is in its 16th year, and were presented with certificates at the concert.

Cllr Sarah Peacock, who is Susan Hollowell’s daughter, said: “They are all worthy, there are so many people out there that do voluntary work.

“But with Joan and Paula, I think it was their length of time - 20 years is a long time to do voluntary work and the support they give Headway is unbelievable.

“We felt that was what Mum would have liked.”