The winners of Sustrans Volunteer awards in Northern Ireland this year have proven there is a lot of life and energy after retirement.
All three winners – Hazel Patterson, Jackie Mitchell and John Campbell – have been very enthusiastic volunteers since they retired from work.
We were delighted to recognise the efforts of all our volunteers at a celebratory lunch attended by Sustrans Chief Executive Xavier Brice on a recent visit to Belfast.
Hazel Patterson ‘walked away’ with Sustrans Volunteer of the Year Award for Northern Ireland for her support for events and activities.
“ I have to say above all volunteering has been a lot of fun. ”
“My family have always lived without a car and we’re all keen walkers and cyclists, so it seemed the natural thing to volunteer for Sustrans,” she said. “I’ve volunteered for the past three years and have done lots of activities on the Comber Greenway such as litter picks, led walks and event stalls. I’ve volunteered with a great bunch of people and I have to say above all it has been a lot of fun!”
Sustrans Volunteer Co-ordinator, Rachael Ludlow-Williams congratulating the winner said:
“Hazel stands out because of her consistent and regular commitment to Sustrans, as well as her enthusiasm about walking and cycling with which she empowers others to have a go. Hazel is very positive, cheerful and outgoing – helping to make the public feel comfortable at activities and inspired at events.”
Sustrans also awarded Certificates of Appreciation to two other volunteers.
Jackie Mitchell who is a familiar figure on the National Cycle Network and greenways throughout Northern Ireland where she is frequently out and about leading cycle rides for people new or returning to cycling.
“Jackie is very patient and puts in a significant number of hours for Sustrans,” said Rachael. “She is a great advocate for sustainable transport using bicycles and trains to plan many of her organised rides. We are recognising her today because her group nominated her as they recognise her dedication to tasks, consistent support and contribution to Sustrans, and her commitment to making it easier for people to walk and cycle in local and U3A cycling groups.”
Last but not least, Sustrans ranger John Campbell received an award for his voluntary work on sections of the Network, Routes 9 and 94, as well as Regional Route 10 in the Craigavon area where he lives.
“John has been volunteering with Sustrans for over five years communicating with local Council and government departments to ensure missing signage is replaced or repaired,” said Rachael. “As well as his regular route checks he has organised local volunteer ranger meetings and helped support new volunteers with signage. He never shies away from a challenge!”