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Merton Civic Awards: Volunteer is lifeline
A dedicated volunteer working with both the elderly and children in the community, described as a lifeline for some, has been nominated for a Merton Civic award.
Janet Watkins, a homemaker, began volunteering when she saw an advert at the Volunteer Centre Merton asking people to give an afternoon a week to help others with such things as delivering library books, helping with shopping and befriending the elderly.
Mrs Watkins has helped Helen Brett, 104, of Westcroft Gardens, Morden, for the past five years, first through the delivery of library books.
She takes Mrs Brett, as well as many others who use the library service, audio books as she is unable to get out by herself, meaning Mrs Watkins is a lifeline for her.
For the past year she has also helped Mrs Brett’s husband, Stanley, 89, who must regularly attend to St George’s, St Thomas’s and St Guy’s hospitals for different appointments.
Mrs Watkins, of Abingdon Close, Wimbledon, drives to their home and stays with Mr Brett on his journey to and from the hospital, which can take up to six hours on some occasions.
Mr Brett said: “She has helped us well and has always been there if we want her, she is absolutely invaluable a lifeline.
“She is a very good help because we are both elderly and helps us tremendously."
Her volunteering extends to helping those who are hard of hearing and have learning difficulties. She also helps children’s reading at St Thomas of Canterbury Primary School, Mitcham. She said: “People say I have to learn to say no, but if someone needs help I have to help and you never know when you will need it.”
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