FOR nearly a decade she’s been the driving force behind a local charity.
Now tireless 84-year-old Betty Richards has been put forward for a national award for her work raising awareness about sight loss.
She was first diagnosed with macular disease 12 years ago, and has been leading a local support group for people affected by it in Fareham for eight years.
In that time Betty has helped organise events and supported others with the eye condition, which makes everyday tasks such as shopping, reading, watching television and even recognising the faces of others difficult.
Betty, from Fareham, has now been put forward for the Macular Disease Society’s annual chairman’s award in recognition of her outstanding work in the local community.
She said: ‘I’m thrilled to be nominated. I don’t do what I do for the glory, I do it for the love of it. I have got a lovely happy group that are like a family to me.
‘I’m lucky to have an excellent committee that works very hard and helps a great deal. The group can help to give people with macular disease more confidence – they get to know information about the condition they may not have been able to if they were not involved.
‘I find the work that I do very rewarding, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to help people.
‘We’re always looking for new members and I’m sure there are people in Fareham with MD who don’t even know we exist.’
Doreen Casey, who nominated her friend, said: ‘Since Betty became group leader it has gone from strength to strength, growing from eight members to 35.
‘She has done much to make the group socially enjoyable in the arrangements of speakers and entertainers, local visits and holidays.
‘Betty is fiercely independent, a great inspiration and above all, the group enjoy her happy enthusiasm. She is a joy to work with.’
Winners will be announced and presented with their awards at the society’s annual London conference on September 17.
Chief executive of the society Helen Jackman said: ‘We’re so grateful to Betty or all the fabulous work carried out in Fareham. She has done incredibly well to be nominated for this award.’
For more information on the Fareham group contact Mrs Richards on (01329) 285978.