Volunteering 'Oscars' for Lunch Club Duo

Commitment of Mary Rudd and Percy Venus recognised


Percy Venus with Cllr. Lillis

Mary Rudd receiving her award

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Senior citizens star at volunteering awards
An 87 year-old woman and 78 year-old man who help to run a lunch club for people often younger than themselves have been honoured by the Hammersmith & Fulham Volunteer Centre at a special awards ceremony.

Mary Rudd and Percy Venus, who serve meals at the Hammersmith & Fulham Age Concern lunch club every Wednesday and Friday, were among 40 people recognised for their extraordinary commitment to the community on Friday June 8 at the Volunteer Centre Awards, held at the Novotel London West hotel in the presence of Hammersmith & Fulham councillor Antony Lillis.

The annual ceremony acknowledges local residents who have ‘gone the extra mile’ to help others and thereby demonstrated how much can be achieved through voluntary work. The majority of the award winners are nominated by the charities or organisations where they have given up their free time.

Bernice Semple, Operations Manager of Hammersmith & Fulham Age Concern, says of Percy and Mary: “Percy is a longstanding volunteer who is nearly 79 and has been helping us at both our lunch clubs for many years. He is invaluable to us. The same goes for Mary, except she is 87 and older than most of our clients that she helps.”

Mary Rudd, who lives on Broughton Road in Fulham, says: “I first started going to the lunch club about 16 years ago, after I lost my husband. On one occasion the club was short of staff, so I volunteered to take the dinners round and it all started from there. I’ve often been involved in helping the cooks to prepare the meals, and these days I help out more generally with any jobs that need doing.

“I really look forward to Wednesdays and Fridays, because the lunch club gives me a chance to get out and meet people, and stops me from feeling lonely. Everyone is so friendly there, and it’s very satisfying to be a part of that – to sit down with people who are on their own and talk to them. I realise how lucky I am to be able to move around and get out and about, so it’s only right that I do my bit. I think sometimes people are nervous about the idea of volunteering, but there’s no need to be. Everyone will be pleased that you’ve helped.

“As for the award from the Volunteer Centre, I thought at first that someone was having me on about it! It was a lovely surprise, and especially nice that Percy was honoured too. The ceremony itself was a very good evening, and my son and daughter-in-law came from Windsor to see me collect my award.”

Marion Schumann, Volunteer Centre director, says: “With a combined age of 165, Mary and Percy could be forgiven for putting their feet up and letting others look after them. The fact that they are still going out and helping people is truly inspirational, and undoubtedly reflects the satisfaction to be had from volunteering in the community. Here at the Volunteer Centre we believe that voluntary work provides people with all sorts of benefits, from meeting new people and broadening your horizons to developing new skills and abilities. My congratulations go to all 40 volunteers nominated for awards, and I hope that their example will encourage more local residents and businesses to drop in to the Volunteer Centre and find out more about volunteering.”

Any local resident or local company wishing to learn more about volunteering can visit the Volunteer Centre at 148 King Street (entrance on Galena Road) or call 020 8741 9876 or visit www.hfvc.org.uk

June 22, 2007