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The Star of the Show

Thu 8 Aug 2019

When Support Staffordshire held its 2019 Volunteer Star Awards at Westwood Golf Club, Leek on 13th June, the winner of the most prestigious award – the Lifetime Achievement Award - was unfortunately absent and the audience had to applaud a photo of her. There was a very good reason for this as the winner, Nancy Coates, was celebrating her 100th birthday that very day!

Nancy had been nominated for the award by the Alstonefield and District Royal Voluntary Society (RVS) Friendship Club of which she has been a member since 1972 (then known as Alstonefield Darby and Joan Club). According to the RVS records, she has been an official volunteer for 37 years and organisers feel that it's largely due to Nancy’s wonderful personality (taking an interest in everyone and being full of fun) that the Club is still thriving after 61 years.

Those deciding who should receive the awards said that, when they heard about Nancy’s many years of volunteering and that she was still a very active volunteer at the age of 100, there was no question about who should receive the Lifetime Achievement Award!

As Nancy’s birthday party was the same day as the awards event, Support Staffordshire’s Debbie Rushworth went to the Friendship Club’s 61st birthday party specially to present the award to Nancy in person. In the speech Nancy made after receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award, she said that, as her mother had told her, she always tried to do good to people and, if she couldn’t do good, then she tried not to do them any harm.

Also at the Club’s birthday party was Laurence Quirk of the RVS, who came to present Nancy with a long service medal and certificate – well, actually, several!  Not being entirely clear how long she had volunteered for, to everyone’s delight he presented Nancy with medals for 10 years, 20 years, 30 years and 40 years, along with the relevant certificates – both in the name of Alice Coates (her official name) and Nancy Coates, the name by which everyone knows her.

Nancy’s daughter Ann was also presented with a medal and certificate for her 30 years’ service. It was really an evening to remember for all the Club members and also included a 100th birthday gift from the Club to Nancy, and a thank you gift to Ann.

Support Staffordshire is planning to hold the next annual Moorlands Volunteer Star Awards in June 2020 so will be on the look-out for more volunteers to thank. If any local business is interested in sponsoring next year’s awards contact Jill Norman at Support Staffordshire on 01538 381356.