‘They are our unsung heroes’: More than 1,500 volunteers honoured

Best foot forward: Simply Walk volunteer leaders with Mike Appleyard and Carl Etholen
Best foot forward: Simply Walk volunteer leaders with Mike Appleyard and Carl Etholen

The hundreds of volunteers who help keep the wheels of Buckinghamshire turning have been honoured for their contribution to the community by county council Chairman Carl Etholen.

He hosted the county’s unsung heroes at an evening reception in Aylesbury on Tuesday.

More than 1,500 volunteers help Buckinghamshire County Council deliver services, from Master Composters and Simply Walk leaders to school governors and education appeal panel members.

Carl Etholen, himself a volunteer community bus driver, paid tribute to the county’s volunteers.

He said: “We’re really fortunate to have a huge number of public spirited people in Buckinghamshire, and we’re immensely proud of them.

“Service to the community is something Buckinghamshire people are very good at. They really are our unsung heroes, and if it wasn’t for the support of so many volunteers, many projects just wouldn’t run.”

Among more than 40 who attended the reception in the Judges’ Lodgings at County Hall, were school travel planners, Duke of Edinburgh Scheme organisers, Master Composters, and Simply Walks leaders, who organise walks to encourage people’s health and wellbeing.

School travel planners Jenny Thompson, from Bierton, and Angela Matthews, from Haddenham, love their role in encouraging parents to create safe environments around schools in the villages.

Angela, who has been volunteering for 11 years, and Jenny, eight years, have both been involved in setting up cycle training to promote safety among pupils.

Of her role, Jenny said: “I love doing it, love the kids, and love the way they are so enthusiastic.”

Duke of Edinburgh Scheme volunteer Sue Johnson, from Buckingham, had notched up 36 years organising and supervising, and was honoured by Carl Etholen at the reception with the presentation of a commemorative badge.

Sue, who became involved in the Scheme as a teacher at Waddesdon C of E School, said: “I love doing this work, and seeing young people do activities that are really worthwhile.”