Happy Monday Everyone!
As promised – though much later than originally planned (these last two last week has been hectic!) – I’ve got the rundown of the fabulous Tenovus Cancer Care Volunteer Awards 2017 which took place on the 6th of July.
I offered to spend the morning of the awards making name badges in the office ready for the night. I used a guillotine cutter for the first time in my life, and despite taking longer than a normal person to cut names out, it wasn’t a total disaster. The fabulous staff were grateful for my help anyhow. I was only there for a few hours so I made my way back home to relax and get ready for the evening.
Before long, me and my boyfriend Thomas were making our way into town on the bus dressed in our best attire. We arrived on time at the Principality Stadium and were led to one of the hospitality suites to indulge in a glass of prosecco. This room was for the VIP guests, basically for all who were nominated, their plus 1’s and sponsors of the award categories.
It was at VIP that I met the sponsor of my award category (Young Person Award), they were Western Power Distribution. Bizarrely, this is the business my Dad worked for all his life before retiring, and my brother and uncle also work in the call centre there. They asked if I was Robert’s daughter the second I met them. Small, small world!
Next, the nominated volunteers were asked to stay behind for some group photo’s whilst everyone else went down to the ceremony room. It was here that I got to meet the other two nominees in my category. One was also a student, like me, volunteering once a week in one of Tenovus Cancer Care’s shops. A brief summary of some of the ways in which he helps:
‘He runs the shop floor, assists customers to and from their cars with donations and purchases, and he processes stock so efficiently’
The other was just 12 years old and has been giving her time for 4 years! Very impressive. And a summary of how she helps:
‘From making cakes to manning stalls or bucket collecting in the sun, in showers, in funny hats or in bright coloured wigs (but always with a smile)’
It was fab to meet other young volunteers and to discover how they contribute to Tenovus Cancer Care. It just shows the hundreds of different ways you can get involved with the charity, or any other charity organisation for that matter.
All us nominees were then gathered together in our categories ready to walk into the ceremony room to join the other guests. I felt a little nervous at the prospect of walking out to everyone, but it was actually really lovely walking out to the entire room clapping you to your seat.
Everyone had their assigned seat and the room was decorated beautifully with colourful balloons. There was a huge projector screen with fantastic graphics! (If someone could let me know the designer, that would be great. They deserve a mention!)
Our host was the fantastic Carl Edwards. A presenter for ITV Wales and a cancer fighter himself. He was the host for the awards last year, and he was just as amazing as last time. He opened the ceremony by thanking all the nominees and volunteers, whilst providing us with his experience of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro to support and raise money for Tenovus Cancer Care. It certainly seemed like an experience he’ll never forget. Inspiring!
To kick off the awards we had the Creative award. For volunteers who’ve come up with a ‘truly innovative idea’ to support Tenovus Cancer Care’s mission. As with every award, there were 3 nominees all of which had helped in their own unique ways. Ultimately it was Angela Murray who bagged the award.
‘She’s arranged an array of coffee and craft mornings, gala dinners, concerts, lunches, Singathons and attended events to support and raise funds’
Next was the Supportive award. For the volunteers who’ve dedicated their efforts to support staff, fundraisers and other volunteers. Janet Braddick won the award.
‘Janet has been incredible; she has helped raise tens of thousands of pounds in listings. So much so she’s affectionately nicknamed “The Machine”!’
Then we have the Boldest Award. For volunteers who’ve demonstrated courage and bravery. The award went to Kevin Bennett. An emotional acceptance from him couldn’t help but reduce me to a few tears. His story really is inspiring.
‘Kevin didn’t let his diagnosis scare him. He took up running as part of his recovery and has continued to throw himself into fundraising as a means of showing his gratitude for the second chance at life that his cancer treatment gave him; single-handedly raising over £30,000’
My throat was thick by this point and tears were getting harder to stop. Damn you Tenovus Cancer Care!
We then had the Inspiring Award. For volunteers who’ve inspired others to achieve outstanding success, or who have inspired others with their achievements. Gwyneth Davies won this award.
’34 years ago, Gwyneth had the drive and determination to set up a group in Llandeilo with the sole purpose to support Tenovus Cancer Care. She gathered community support and recruited members – no small task!’
The last of the core awards was the Respect Award. For volunteers who’ve acted with an energetic, enthusiastic and positive attitude while volunteering. Lesley Willis won this award. And she was over the moon!
‘Lesley is an incredible, wonderful and selfless lady and her contribution and dedication to Tenovus Cancer Care is second to none. She’s an absolute asset to the charity, in the Wrexham area and beyond!’
Dun dun duuuuun. It was time for the Young Volunteer Award – awarded to those aged 25 and under. Despite knowing deep down that this definitely wasn’t my time to win, I still felt ridiculously nervous. What was I going to say if I had to get up there? Everyone else had given perfect speeches. I’d probably stutter and spout utter nonsense. To my relief Megan won the award, and she thoroughly deserved it. She’s just 12!
‘Megan sings loud and proud in the choir, and along with her fundraising efforts, is showing her dedication and love of a charity close to her heart’
The last award to give was the Group Volunteer Award. For a group of volunteers who’s demonstrated one or a number of our values whilst helping the charity. Barry Friends of Tenovus Cancer Care won!
‘The ladies hold many events each year, such as coffee mornings, quiz nights and garden parties, and they are always keen to collect in local supermarkets and at events’
That wraps up the actual awards part, and my eyes filled every time someone went to collect their award. It’s crazy how many people are affected by cancer, and it’s just so heart-warming to hear of how people wanted to give something back to a charity they love.
We also had some beautiful music by the Barry Sing With Us choir. I especially just loved their rendition of It’s My Life by Bon Jovi. It was sensational and I didn’t want it to end! Thomas loved it too. Oh, and I might add that I did actually see him well up once or twice during the night.
The final part of the night, which I haven’t forgot to mention, was to give an award to the Volunteer of the Year. This award would be given to the individual who has shown all the above core values that make Tenovus Cancer Care what it is. For someone to have shown Creativity, Bold, Inspiring, Supportive and Respect traits. That someone was Kevin Bennett!!
He accepted his award in a whirlwind of emotion. I can’t imagine the feelings he must have felt as the crowd continued to clap for about a minute. I’m sure his family are immensely proud of him.
Some more music from the talented Barry Sing With Us choir concluded what was a lovely, heart-warming and positive night. I’m honoured to have attended and it feels wonderful to be recognised for the help I’ve given.
That’s it for another year! I apologise if the post was slightly too long, and I definitely apologise for my bad photography skills! I think I just wanted to enjoy the night more than anything else.
Have a good week!