Marsh Award for Volunteering in Support of Older People

This Award is run in partnership with Re-engage and recognises the contribution made by volunteers who support and care for older people. The Award acknowledges the commitment made by either an individual or a group of volunteers.

Re-engage volunteers hold monthly tea parties for elderly people, or act as drivers in order to ensure they are able to attend. The groups are lifelines for many elderly people with little support from friends and family.

As well as one national winner, the Award recognises 21 regional winners across the UK from Wales, Scotland, the South East, the South West, London, the North and the Midlands and East Anglia. Nominations for the Award are gathered and judged internally by Re-engage and a shortlist of 7 winners is put forward to the Marsh Charitable Trust in order to select the national winner.

Jennifer Smith   2022

 Jennifer coordinates 5 Call Companion Groups and is also a call companion for countless other older people in those groups and she also finds the time to be an impact volunteer. She does this with a fantastic attitude which makes staff’s dealings with her a real pleasure. The older people that she speaks to are always hugely positive about their conversations with her, and if she has even an inkling that someone is struggling, she wants to help. She makes a massive difference to the impact team and Re-Engage feel lucky that she wants to put so much of her time and energy into supporting the charity. 

Previous Winners

Bev Owen

Northwich is a very welcoming and friendly group and Bev is caring and gives endless time to all her guests. She joined the charity in 2011, and only launched her first group in 2017, due to a lack of volunteers in her area. Despite this, Bev was not put off and successfully launched the group and since has launched a new group every year and appears on the radio to help recruit new volunteers. Bev has helped guests, by visiting them in hospital and helping them sort to out their houses when they were too ill to do so. Many of these guests have now passed, but Bev’s support would have been invaluable to them. 

Belinda Hankers

Belinda has been coordinating the Horsham 1 Group since 2015, becoming a steadying hand for a group that had previously had 3 coordinators in as many years. She has also been instrumental in the development and launching of a second group in Horsham earlier this year. Belinda cared in particular for one of her oldest guests, Jessica, who has loved on her own for some time and had no immediate family nearby. When Jessica had a fall and was hospital for some time, Belinda came up with a rota to ensure that one of the Horsham 1 volunteers would be able to visit her every day to help her at mealtimes. This continued for 4 months until Jessica sadly passed away and even though she had developed dementia and was unable to recognise anyone the visits would have bought her great comfort. Belinda went one step further by organising her volunteers once again to help the Housing Officer clear Jessica’s flat after she passed away. Belinda did not walk away from the request for help, even though it went above and beyond what was expected of her role and instead found a way to bring all her volunteers closer together.

Sophie Fearnall

Sophie has been a volunteer host for the Chester 1 Group since 2009 and took over as the Group’s coordinator 3 years ago. She is a vibrant and enthusiastic volunteer, working tirelessly for her own group but also with regional needs across Cheshire where there is no regional officer in post. Sophie promotes the work of Contact the Elderly wherever she goes and helps to run events such as the Golden Jubilee celebration, which secured a substantial donation for the organisation.

Sophie inspired a Waitrose store in Cheshire to start a group and was able to secure a substantial donation from their ‘Community Matters’ scheme. She has also facilitated the formation of new groups in Cheshire, which now total five, finding group coordinators and organising training for those who want to be involved. She provides much needed support to the West Cheshire groups, both the older people who are guests and the volunteers that run them.

Sheila Glazebrook

Sheila Glazebrook has volunteered with Contact the Elderly for 50 years. She coordinates and has helped to launch a number of groups in Oxfordshire which provide support to older people in the community. Over her fifty years of volunteering Sheila has carried out an extensive range of work, from volunteering as a driver and tea-party host, to working with Contact the Elderly’s Head Office to help promote their work on a national level.

As well as Sheila, this Award scheme recognised a further 20 volunteers from communities across the UK who have worked tirelessly to provide support networks and companionship for older people. From arranging tea parties and excursions, to partnering with local organisations and promoting volunteering, these volunteers have been instrumental to the work of Contact the Elderly.

Vivien Raggett

Vivien has been a dynamic, enthusiastic and pro-active coordinator for the Harrow Group since she started volunteering in 2007. She works tirelessly to look after the wellbeing of her older guests and volunteers, exceeding her expected monthly commitment. Her group volunteers and older members are very fond of Vivien and always speak very highly of her. Alongside coordinating the group she is a very active member of several other community groups and charities, including her local Lions club.

Despite a series of health issues Vivien has remained dedicated to the group, at one time managing the group from her hospital bed! Vivien’s husband has played an active part in her absence, taking over the driving and much of the coordinating. Despite the many challenges they have faced, they have neither asked to be relieved of their duties nor have they cancelled any of their tea parties and events for their guests. Vivien and her husband truly deserve this Award for their sheer dedication, determination, hard work and contribution to the work of Contact the Elderly and the difference they make to the lives of so many people in their community.

Hilary Thompson

Since inception in June 2007, Hilary Thompson has been the group coordinator and a driver for the Batley Group. She is also a member of the Batley Rotary Club and was their President last year. It is Hilary’s Rotary connection that helped to get the Batley group off the ground and running successfully. Hilary invited Contact the Elderly’s local executive officer to speak to the members of the Batley Rotary Club, and a result of the presentation, the Rotarians decided to form their own group.

As the years have rolled on, Hilary’s passion and dedication has enthused other Rotary clubs in West Yorkshire, inspiring their own members to become involved with the work of the charity too.

During Hilary’s presidential year, Contact the Elderly was the chosen charity of the Batley Rotary Club, with around £800 presented to the local executive officer. Hilary’s passion and longing to spread the word more widely among Rotarians has led to a DVD being produced, as a result of the money. Hilary and her fellow Rotary members took part in the DVD, and as a result, Contact the Elderly has an inspirational film to showcase in its bid to recruit more Rotarians as volunteers.

Roy Rees Williams

A volunteer and Friendship Fund member since 2007, Roy rescued the East Ealing group in April 2010 when it was struggling with numbers. Under the helm of Roy, the group is going from strength-to-strength. Roy has re-organised the group’s admin, arranged a clearer host schedule and recruited new volunteers and older guests himself by setting up a blog and advertising on the local community website.

Roy is very dedicated to Contact the Elderly and has proved this – not only by successfully coordinating a very ‘happy’ group of older guests and volunteers – but by raising a very large amount of funds through his company. Roy has generously agreed to divide this money between his own group and the main charity funds. With some of this money, Roy arranged a very special tea party with canapés and wine tasting for his volunteers and older guests, which they enjoyed immensely.

Roy has proved to be a wonderful group coordinator, advocate, recruitment officer and fundraiser for Contact the Elderly

Juanita Fan and the Southwark Group

Juanita is group coordinator for the Contact the Elderly Southwark Group. She has helped to revive the group, which was struggling with numbers and has made relationships with many local agencies and day centers to recruit new members. Juanita tries to find more unusual venues to host tea parties, such as the Tate Modern and Dulwich Picutre Gallery. She is also extremely caring when it comes to the older members of the group, and she keeps in touch with them throughout the month; visits members who are in hospital; helps out with other tasks like shopping etc, but at the same time is extremely busy with her own work.

Penny Tillott

Lynn Thomas

Lynn Thomas, from the Contact the Elderly Lambeth group, has spent  38 years caring for the elderly, first with Age Concern and then with Contact the Elderly. Lynn always manages to inject an element of fun into proceedings, and is recognised as an unstoppable force for good.

Regional winners were: Isabel Kwok, Jackie Earney, Joan Anderson, Kate Lloyd, and Jean Malcolm



Doreen Eggar, Rita Leloch and Brenda Avery

Doreen, from the St Albans 1 group, has volunteered for Contact the Elderly for 30 years and is deeply committed to her work. In addition to monthly tea parties, she also arranges activities and Christmas events for her group.

Rita and Brenda set up the Dunstable group in 1973 and have run it ever since, recruiting their own volunteers and fundraising for special outings.



Carolyn & Peter Dennis

Carolyn & Peter Dennis run the Contact the Elderly Group in Bournemouth. On one Sunday each month Carolyn marshals sufficient volunteers to run 10 groups picking up around 90 elderly people. Each driver takes the elderly guests out for a short drive and then on to a tea at a volunteer’s house. The volunteers are all very committed, in no small part due to Carolyn’s leadership.



Iris Williams

Iris Williams has been dedicated coordinator of the group for more than 10 years and, with much support from her husband Desmond and friend Shirley Homewood, she ensures that the elderly guests are never let down. Iris has managed to include 6 other groups from the surrounding area and she organises an annual New Year’s party for guests.



Maureen Hutcheson

Maureen has co-ordinated her group for nearly 5 years and looks after up to 14 elderly guests, taking them on outdoor excursions. Maureen frequently ‘hosts’ too, including memorable Burns suppers and Christmas parties embracing additional elderly people, so that she is often organising events for over 100 elderly guests – plus volunteers! Maureen recruits all her own volunteers and elderly guests. She runs a B&B establishment with her visually impaired husband, they are always prepared to go that extra mile to help other people without seeking reward or acknowledgment. Her Regional Development Officer added: we cannot sing her praises too high, her attitude, commitment and energy are quite exceptional.



George Edison

George Edison has been central to the group from its earliest days, and has worked with old and new volunteers over the years, despite looking caring for his wife. Over the years some elderly members have become desperately frail and yet the group has always found a way of keeping them in the group and fully supported.