Portsmouth volunteers honoured for doing their bit for the community

HONOURED Ted Fitzgerald and his wife Mo.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (114410-2170)

HONOURED Ted Fitzgerald and his wife Mo. Picture: Malcolm Wells (114410-2170)

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THEY’VE devoted the past 12 years to helping their local community.

Now Ted and Mo Fitzgerald have been honoured for giving up their spare time.

They were among several people and organisations to be presented with a volunteer award at the Kings Theatre, Southsea, yesterday.

Mr and Mrs Fitzgerald are part of the Howard and Matisan Residents’ Association at the Howard Road Community Centre, Hilsea, and have worked endlessly to create a hub for the area.

Ted, 71, said: ‘We lay on clubs, trips and holidays for people and there is something going on every day.

‘There was a need to build a sense of community, and since we started, the vandalism in the area has dropped right down.

‘We feel privileged to be considered for the award.’

The charitable pensioners were nominated by First Wessex, owners of the community centre, for the countless hours they give to the running of the building.

Geoff Pillpotts, regeneration manager at First Wessex, said: ‘They should be recognised for their work and for building a sense of community.’

Mo, 69, said: ‘Working at the centre gives a real sense of satisfaction and we couldn’t do it without our committee.’

Two other volunteer of the year awards and three specific awards were presented to members of the community for their contributions to organisations across the city, as well as certificates to all shortlisted nominees.

The event was organised by Julie Killeen, volunteer development officer at Community First for Portsmouth. There were more than 250 nominations, and winners were decided by a panel of four judges.

Julie said: ‘I volunteer myself, and I would give all of the candidates an award if I could. They’re all marvellous but some really jump out. We take into consideration how long they have done it for and what it is that they are doing.’

Alan Allcock, 77, also won a volunteer of the year award as a community transport driver for the past 22 years.

Rita Whyte

A volunteer of the year award was given to Rita Whyte, 88, from Hilsea, for her work at the Headway charity shop in Cosham.

She has been volunteering for the past 25 years and said: ‘I retired at 60 and I wanted to do something. I really enjoy it. I feel proud.’

Charles Burns

COMMUNITY Network volunteer Charles Burns accepted the Ken Dobson Community Spirit Award.

Nominated for the great work he does in building a safe community in Portsmouth, Mr Burns said: ‘I am very flattered to receive this award, though it’s a little embarrassing.’

The Kings Theatre

THE Organisation Award was received by The Kings Theatre.

Chairman of the theatre’s charity trust, Ron Hasker, dedicated the award to the level of support from the team of volunteers.

He said: ‘The award just highlights how this theatre is going from strength to strength.’

Shopmobility

SHOPMOBILITY picked up the Group Award for its service providing mobility scooters.

Nikki Blackburn, a member of the group, said: ‘We are on top of the world after receiving this award.

‘The inspiration for us comes from seeing customers going out with independence.’

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