A VOLUNTEER has been recognised for 43 years of service to Macmillan Cancer Support.
Helga Steele, from High Salvington, has been involved with the Worthing Committee, a branch of the national charity, since 1971. She became chairwoman in 1983, a position she still holds.
Last month Mrs Steele travelled to London to receive Macmillan’s prestigious Richard Hambro Award, on the 30th anniversary of volunteers’ week.
The ceremony included a tea jazz band and a speech by Esther Rantzen. Award winners were presented with a framed certificate and boxed silver pin badge.
Mrs Steele said: “I hadn’t expected it and I was a bit surprised, I feel quite honoured. I have been very involved over the years and it was a nice surprise but I see this award as more for the committee than for me.
“I have greatly enjoyed helping to make people aware of the work of Macmillan Cancer Support and to raise money for such a wonderful organisation for so many years.
“I have, of course, been very lucky in having the support of the members of the Worthing committee and all our supporters who have helped us year after year.”
Mrs Steele said that things had changed a great deal since she joined the committee, after being delegated by the Ladies Circle.
She said: “Macmillan is so well known now and it has a big nursing element, hospices, an advice line and gives more advice.
“There is so much direct involvement now with cancer patients and their families, it has grown a great deal.
“There have been lots of highlights for me over the years but the main thing is that I know we are helping people and it is that feeling of giving something back to society that drives me.”
The Richard Hambro Award is designed to recognise individuals who lead or manage a group to an exceptional standard, or inspire others to achieve outstanding success.
Helga was nominated for the award by Stephanie Georgalakis, fundraising manager for Sussex, who said: “I put Helga forward because of all the fantastic volunteering work she has done to help people affected by cancer locally.
“She has been a valued member of our team since 1971 and been chairwoman of the Worthing Committee since 1983 and has made such a massive contribution. She is a strong, influential leader whom the committee admire.
“She has an exceptional natural talent to lead the committee’s influence within the local area, regularly inspiring the members to go the extra mile. Helga is a fantastic ambassador for Macmillan, often speaking as a Macmillan representative to a range of audiences and acting as ‘a face’ for Macmillan, directing local people to our services.”