Diamond pair from Penarth and Dinas to meet royals
TWO local women have been recognised for their outstanding volunteer work - and invited to meet The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at St James's Palace in November.
Seventy-nine year-old Betty Jones, from Penarth, and Clare Bowen, 62, from Dinas Powys, are among ten people from Wales to receive a Diamond Champion Award from the older people's charity WRVS.
Recognising the contribution that people over the age of 60 make through volunteering, more than 370 people from Wales were nominated for the award - but the two local women were among the few chosen.
Betty was selected for her tireless work running the coffee shop at Llandough Hospital.
A spokesperson for the WRVS described her as 'a valuable gem, a jewel in the crown of the WRVS'.
"Betty has volunteered for WRVS for 15 years," added the spokesperson.
"Her liveliness, sense of humour and willingness to listen make her popular with hospital staff, who know her by name, and patients, for some of whom the coffee shop is a refuge at a stressful time in their lives.
"She works five days a week, rain or shine - and has even been known to pick up her volunteers when they have been snow-bound.
"Her dedication is an inspiration to her co-volunteers and is definitely an asset to Llandough Hospital in that, through her efforts, WRVS is able to donate regularly and generously for facilities for the hospital."
Betty is also the membership secretary and catering manager for Penarth Bowling Club.
Meanwhile grandmother and former staff nurse Clare was recognised for her counselling work with Cardiff Womens Aid. She was called an 'exceptional person'.
The WRVS spokesperson said: "Through patience, understanding and a commitment to ending violence towards women and children and doing what she can to alleviate the pain and empower women to move on and rebuild their lives, Clare has improved the lives of countless women, and consequently, their families.
"Clare is an inspiration to younger counsellors, shares her knowledge and experience and continues to develop her skills through on-going training and personal development. She is a real Diamond Champion."
The ten volunteers chosen from Wales were presented with a specially designed Diamond Champions pin at a celebratory event at Cardiff City Hall on October 15.
They will be joined by 70 other volunteers from across the UK at the event.
And they will also receive a certificate signed by both The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, who are joint patrons of the awards.
Ambassadors Roy Noble, Felicity Kendal, Denise Robertson, Phillip Schofield, Patricia Routledge, Gloria Hunniford, Kimberley Walsh and Kate Adie will also be attending.
Sally Rivers, WRVS head of services in Wales, said: "We're delighted to be able to invite ten Diamond Champions from Wales to such a prestigious event at St James's Palace.
"It's a fantastic way to recognise the work of these volunteers, who make such a difference to the lives of others in their community.
"They are all amazing examples of the kind of volunteer work being done by older people across Wales, and I'm particularly proud that two are WRVS volunteers."
* Betty has appealed for additional volunteers, who could spare a few hours a week, at the hospital coffee shop. Anyone who might be interested can caller her at the shop during the day on 029 20716109.