Volunteer who gave nearly 30 years’ service to St Catherine’s is awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List
A former St Catherine’s volunteer and trustee is ‘astounded, humbled and totally amazed’ after being awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Kevin Jones started volunteering with the hospice the year that it opened in 1985, and went on to give nearly 30 years’ dedicated service as a volunteer, an honorary treasurer, and a member of the board of trustees.
Now, in recognition of his long-term voluntary work with St Catherine’s and a variety of charities in Lancashire and Merseyside, he has received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for voluntary service in the north west of England.
Kevin said: “People do things like this because they want to give back to the community, but you do find when you work with charities that you get more out of it than you put in. It’s such a great pleasure to see the joy you’re bringing to people.
“I would really recommend to anyone to volunteer a couple of hours a week, to help improve someone’s quality of life. You don’t do it for recognition, but it’s particularly nice when ‘ordinary’ people get recognised for their efforts.
Kevin first volunteered on the reception at St Catherine’s in the Autumn of 1985, whilst his partner Stephen Walton lent a hand in the kitchen and on the ward, which had 12 beds then, rather than 19 as it does now.
“There weren’t many volunteers in those early days,” Kevin added. “Not hundreds like nowadays, but we just did what was needed in the time we could offer – helping out in the ward serving drinks and meals, cleaning pots in the kitchen, things like that.
“Then the honorary treasurer job came up and because of my background in banking, I took up that position for many years. I attended board meetings as part of that role, so it was suggested that I should join the board of trustees in the mid-1990s, and I was also chair of the finance sub-committee.”
The patients and staff have all played a huge part in Kevin’s life, however one of his fondest memories from his time at St Catherine’s was meeting Diana, Princess of Wales, when she visited the hospice in January 1993.
“She was absolutely lovely,” he said. “She sat and spoke with me, it was incredible. She was as beautiful as you see in photographs.”
Kevin, who now lives in Warrington, was delighted to finally be able to tell his family and friends about his achievement when the New Year’s Honours List was announced on Saturday.
“I received a letter and a phone call from the cabinet office at the end of November, but of course you’re not allowed to say anything to anyone,” he explained. “It was difficult because of all the family parties over Christmas, but it was worth it. Since then it’s been a constant flurry of messages from people congratulating me, which is lovely.”
Stephen Greenhalgh, chief executive of St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Kevin has received this recognition for his long and valued service as a volunteer. It is, as Kevin says, a form of recognition for all the voluntary work at St Catherine’s.”
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