Martin Hill: Fortunate to have so many volunteers

Lincolnshire County Council Leader, Coun Martin Hill.
Lincolnshire County Council Leader, Coun Martin Hill.

We have a rich tradition of volunteering in Lincolnshire, and we’re fortunate to have many groups and individuals who are prepared to give their time to help others.

The Good Citizens Awards enable Lincolnshire County Council to recognise and thank some of those remarkable people. I enjoyed meeting this year’s winners at the awards ceremony, held at the Lincolnshire Show. It was a pleasure to see them enjoying their spell in the limelight, together with their friends and families.

I couldn’t help noticing that this year, all the winners hail from south Lincolnshire, showing that community spirit is alive and well in our neck of the woods!

Citizen of the Year, chosen from a huge number of nominations, was awarded to Pete Beach from Ruskington. Pete has been a champion fundraiser for many years, organising popular events in support of good causes. These include an annual St George’s Day dinner, which has benefited several charities to the tune of £6,000.

Spalding Grammar School sixth former Bethany Smith won the Young Citizen award. Bethany devotes her free time to helping others, assisting the reception class at a local primary school with lessons and activities. Since 2010 she has volunteered at Scarlet Community Music Group, sharing her love of music with youngsters in rural areas.

I highlighted the winner of the Community Group award in my last column for The Local – Dementia Support South Lincs. It was wonderful to be able to meet members of the group, including people who are now unfortunately living with dementia, as well as their friends and relatives.

They certainly appeared to be enjoying the day, and that’s what this group is all about; tackling the terrible loneliness that dementia can cause, through organising events and social activities.

Finally, the winners of the new category – Couple of the Year – were Bill and Marion Goodhand from Welbourn. This dynamic husband and wife team have been at the heart of village life for almost half a century as staunch supporters of St Chad’s Church. Bill also helped with the creation of the village trail, while Marion is a founder member of the Welbourn Playgroup and edited the parish magazine for many years.

I’m proud that we have inspiring volunteers throughout Lincolnshire - without them our communities would be so much poorer. I hope you’re feeling inspired - there are volunteering opportunities wherever you live. To find out more phone 01522 552222 or visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/volunteering.