The certificate of Merit is our equivalent of the Oscar. It is a gift given by the Trustees in recognition of exceptional service to Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research and it's marked with a surprise presentation of a special certificate and limited edition badge as well as an entry in our "Role of Honour" which is always displayed at our annual Impact Day.
It's one of the nicest parts of my job to turn up unexpectedly at a Branch meeting to make the presentations, I feel like Eamon Andrews/ Michael Aspel (depends which " This is your Life " generation you are!). It was extra special that this presentation was made during "Volunteers' Week"
Thelma joined the Southend Committee in 2007 to support her good friend Judy who was already a member of the Branch. Judy was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in 2003, but sadly could not be treated successfully and passed away.
Thelma has stored all of the equipment for the Southend Bikeathons in barn on her smallholding for many years, saving the Branch storage costs and has an exceptional knowledge and friendships with local people which she willingly shares for the benefit of all Branch activities.
She's particularly well known as a cook, and I can bear witness to her truly outstanding coffee and walnut cake that was served at the meeting! She does the catering for the tea that is held for the top fundraisers at the Southend Bikeathon, if you need another reason for raising money, I can tell you it's worth the extra effort to sample Thelma's cooking!
Thelma shares with so many of our volunteers a humility and a belief that "she does nothing", but it's contributions from very special people like Thelma from all over the UK, that enables Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research to have a local profile, hold events, support local patients and their families and of course to this year invest £25 million in saving the lives of blood cancer patients. They always welcome new members with open hearts so if you can spare a bit of time to help, check out our volunteering pages.
For Thelma and for her much-loved and missed friend Judy, this was a very well-deserved award.
Inspired by Thelma? Find out more about volunteering opportunities and ways you can help us beat blood cancer.