Shop volunteers celebrate 195 years’ service

Two friends who have jointly clocked up 50 years at a Shropshire community shop have been honoured for their commitment.

From left, Oswestry shop manager Debbie Woods, Winifred Lloyd, head of retail Ross Henderson, Jean Murray and director of care Becky Richardson
From left, Oswestry shop manager Debbie Woods, Winifred Lloyd, head of retail Ross Henderson, Jean Murray and director of care Becky Richardson

Jean Murray has been volunteering at Severn Hospice’s Oswestry branch for three decades and Winifred Lloyd has given up her time to help for 20 years.

The dedicated duo have served customers, stocked shelves and sorted donations – and become close friends despite working different shifts.

Now their ‘incredible’ milestone has been recognised at a celebratory afternoon tea organised by the charity’s volunteer team.

They were among 45 other retail volunteers recognised in awards services at Apley, Telford, and 38 in Bicton Heath, Shrewsbury, Altogether, the volunteers have dedicated 195 years of service between them.

The ladies were put in the spotlight when presented with long service awards by hospice chairman Tony Cordery and Becky Richardson, director of care, this month.

After the presentation Jean, 78, from Oswestry, who started volunteering in 1990 after recovering from breast cancer, said: “My neighbour Betty had been made the first manageress of the Oswestry shop and asked me to join her and I’ve been here ever since.

“The work is fun, every day is different and we laugh a lot between ourselves and the customers. And I’ve made some amazing friends along the way including Win.”

Winifred, 84, from Oswestry, said: “Jean works on Tuesday and I work on Saturday but that hasn’t stopped us from being good friends. We catch up during meals out; it’s wonderful being part of the hospice family.”

Shop manager Debbie Woods said: “Jean and Win are brilliant workers and friends whose commitment and ‘can do’ attitude is indirectly helping to fund care for local families.

“I’m proud to have them on my team; they rarely miss a shift, are great with customers and can be called upon when the shop needs cover.”

Dawn Felton, volunteer coordinator, said: “We formally recognise volunteers’ achievement when they have completed five, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years. However, all our volunteers do an amazing job regardless of how long they’re with us.

“Support from people like Jean and Win helps us care for more families. We value the skills and knowledge our volunteers bring and help those who want to gain a formal qualification in retail.”

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