For National Volunteers Week, in our June edition, we asked for you to put forward your nominees for Gainsborough’s Favourite Volunteer – nominated by Gainsborough Life readers. We were inundated with nominations — and one of our nominees received more nominations than anyone else and was the clear choice for our favourite volunteer. Andrew Birkitt, along with his wife Lynn, have volunteered for Gainsborough and District Heritage Centre for many years and as a thank you for their dedication, we teamed up with Jill at Fabulous Flowers to say a special thank you and deliver a thank you bouquet. Andrew’s story is below, along with a selection of some of the other deserving nominees’ stories.
Andrew and Lynne Birkitt
“Lynne and Andy work constantly to improve and provide a fascinating glimpse into the history of Gainsborough as a manufacturing hub, its links with aviation history and what it was like to live and work locally in bygone times.”
“Working with a whole team of volunteers who also deserve a nomination, they have inspired my sons to start volunteering themselves. Andrew is the current Chairman of the Gainsborough Heritage Association and has a passion for Gainsborough and it’s long and varied history. He works tirelessly for the Heritage Association in promoting Gainsborough both past and present. He puts hours of work into research and then displays this work for visitors to the Heritage Centre to see. He also compiles a members’ newsletter full of articles about old Gainsborough. His knowledge of Gainsborough’s history is phenomenal. Visitors to the Heritage Centre can be assured that Andrew will be able to answer all of their questions about our town.
“Andrew also runs a Facebook page called ’Gainsborough Past and Present’, a page which is viewed by a Worldwide membership many of whom are ex-Gainsbronians, for whom the site provides a link with their past. The work that Andrew puts in for the Centre is one of the reasons that The Heritage Centre gets such good reviews on Trip Advisor.
“He has worked so hard since 1993 to create a Heritage Centre in Gainsborough and now we have an amazing Centre, thanks to his determination and patience along with the work of many volunteers. Andrew was one of the founding members of the association, 25 years ago. This is his third year as chairman and he works tirelessly to promote, preserve and protect the heritage of Gainsborough. His knowledge on the history of our town is vast, and he is always willing to share this knowledge with others. I believe he deserves public recognition for his commitment to this town.”
“Marcus has been the lead volunteer at Gainsborough’s X-church project for nearly 12 years. His main role is leading the youth club which happens every Thursday night. There are three sessions for kiddies aged five to nine years and 10 to 16 years and older teens and young adults. The youth project is entirely voluntary and has anything up to 50 kids. Over the years hundreds have gone through the scheme. The kiddies have a cooked supper courtesy of donated food from the supermarkets, and small amounts of grant money provide play and music equipment. It’s amazing how Marcus and the other volunteers keep going week after week, often in difficult circumstances.”
“I would like to nominate Jenny Stevenson for recognition of being a brilliant volunteer. She has volunteered with Girlguiding almost thirty years, and also helped with Scouts. She is a very willing person and will help out others when in need. She also has an extremely busy life, yet still but finds time to fit her voluntary work in too. She always gives her best and we are so proud to have her in Girlguiding.”
“I can think of no better person to nominate for an award than Colin Stubley, he is Chairman of John Coupland Charities Committee, and is doing a great job, steering a difficult path on occasions. He also spends every spare minute getting and keeping the gardens up to a high standard. We cannot praise him more for the job he is doing whilst never neglecting his home and family.”
St Barnabas Hospice Volunteers
“I would like to nominate the volunteers that work tirelessly to support the care and support needed for those living with life-limiting or terminal illnesses throughout our local community. Whether it be volunteering their help in our Day Therapy days, enabling us to run a weekly Coffee Morning, or helping at our ever-popular Fundraising events; they do it all with a smile! The ladies not only donate their time to support those who are currently accessing our services, but the expansion and continuation of our future care is always in the forefront of their minds also. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, and remind you that we simply couldn’t do it without you.”
“Ken is extremely passionate about helping individuals with hearing loss and impairment, by assisting with hearing aid tubes, batteries and general duties to promote good information and advice surrounding hearing aids and health. A few weeks after he had been to see us we came across a coordinator from Action for Hearing Loss at one of our Voluntary Sector Forums here in Gainsborough. My colleague suggested she meet Ken and since then he has been volunteering for the charity, has undergone some training to further develop his skills and he is helping people again in his community. He has travelled further afield throughout the county and all alongside supporting his wife who has some health conditions whilst also being a dedicated Grandfather. He absolutely loves his role and frequently comes in to the centre to remind us, so much so he has had a certificate and recognition from the charity for his efforts.
“Julia has volunteered for over two years for Barnardo’s in Gainsborough. She is very dedicated and committed and is a valued member of the team. Julia always has a smile on her face and is great company – her jokes are hilarious! Through all of her challenges, Julia has shown huge courage, resilience and strength. Julia is a fantastic human being and deserves a bouquet of flowers (every day!).”
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