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Volunteer of the year 2020

Betty Carnihan - Larkhall and District Volunteer Group

Betty started volunteering with Larkhall and District Volunteers Group in 1996 and is now their longest serving volunteer. She normally runs lunch clubs, exercise groups, games nights, and organises outings.

A tireless volunteer, who has helped run numerous older people’s groups for almost a quarter of a century has been recognised with a national award.

Betty Carnihan, 77, from Lanarkshire, was presented with Age Scotland’s Volunteer of the Year award at the virtual ceremony.

The award is sponsored by Solicitors for Older People Scotland, and recognises an outstanding volunteer who has made a difference to older people’s lives.

Betty started volunteering with Larkhall and District Volunteers Group in 1996 and is now their longest serving volunteer. She normally runs lunch clubs, exercise groups, games nights, and organises outings.

She also calls members who are on their own as part of their Call Line, picks up people to take them to groups, and has helped organise a food collection for local people in need.
During the pandemic, Betty was determined to continue volunteering and reaching out to members.

Despite initially shielding at home herself, she stayed in touch with members by phone, offering a friendly ear to those who were on their own.

Betty Carnihan said:

“I was very honoured, very privileged to win this award. When they told me I was just dumbfounded.
“One of the things I enjoy very much is the Call Line, calling people who are lonely and vulnerable and just having a chat and brightening up their day.”

Volunteer coordinator Ann Nisbet said: “Betty has become so involved with the members. She’s dependable, she’s reliable, trustworthy, she’s always happy to help. Very seldom do I phone Betty and she says no. She always goes the extra mile and makes time to make sure all the members who come into the groups get the best experience possible.

“We’re all absolutely delighted that Betty has won this award. She thoroughly deserves it. She’s been volunteering for 23 years without being recognised and now it’s her turn.”

Brian Sloan, Age Scotland’s chief executive, said:

“Betty's work is a true inspiration, and has touched the lives of hundreds of people throughout Lanarkshire and beyond. For almost a quarter of a century, she has worked tirelessly to reach out to those in her community, ensuring that everyone who walks through the door receives a warm welcome.

"Even the pandemic has not stopped her, and she continues to reach out to local people by phone
providing a reassuring voice and making sure no one goes through this alone.

"It's an absolute privilege to present Betty with our Volunteer of the Year award, and give her some of the national recognition she deserves.”

David Borrowman, of Solicitors for Older People Scotland, said they were delighted to sponsor the award.

“Over the years we have heard one inspiring story after another about the people who volunteer with older people’s groups and organisations.

"The ethos and commitment of these great people is needed more than ever in these troubled times. Keep up the good work!”

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