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Warwickshire volunteer receives platinum award from lifesaving charity

Saying thank you is the theme of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), when charities and organisations celebrate the unpaid work done by millions of volunteers across the UK.

Volunteers are the heartbeat of the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance’s (WNAA) charity. It could not operate its 24/7 frontline services and continue to save lives without the support of its dedicated volunteers – such as WNAA volunteer, Barbara Barnacle.

Known as Mr and Mrs air ambulance, Barbara (78) and her husband Tony – from Priors Marston, Warwickshire – have a massive presence in their village and surrounding areas for organising coffee mornings, stalls, and selling Christmas cards each year.

“I started volunteering in 2003, but not officially until a few years later. The local air ambulance flew to our village to attend a lady who was in a diabetic coma, they had only been operating for three weeks at that point, and the pilot said the charity needs people to raise money for them,” explained Barbara.

Four weeks later, Barbara hosted a coffee morning in her house to raise funds for the lifesaving service, and she hasn’t stopped since.

“So many people came to support, we then had another coffee morning the next year and our house was packed. It’s become legendary and we now have an annual coffee morning in the village hall where we have people with different stalls attending who donate money,” added Barbara.

Since Barbara began volunteering for the vital cause, she’s brought in an astonishing £145,932.00 for the lifesaving service.

Barbara – along with all the charity’s volunteers – will be celebrated and thanked by the charity during this year’s Volunteers’ Week which also coincides with the charity’s celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Barbara will be presented with a platinum award for her long service and will be invited to the charity café tea parties and receive a special Jubilee mug- to mark the regal milestone.

Head of Volunteering for the charity, Sue Haslett commented: “Our volunteers help in a variety of different ways across the charity, whether they’re raising funds out in the community, supporting in our offices or warehouse, delivering projects, or helping in our shops – every hour that they give makes a difference.

“We couldn’t operate without them, and I’d like to say a big thank you to Barbara for her incredible dedication, and to each other volunteer for their ongoing support which helps us to save lives.

“We hope our volunteers enjoy the Jubilee celebrations. Every one of our volunteers already wears a crown, which they should wear with pride, as they are our volunteer royalty.”

The charity hails over 1,200 dedicated volunteers – and with over 50 different volunteering roles- it’s always looking for more people to donate their time or expertise.

“The best part of volunteering is being able to use the skills I already have and enjoying meeting and engaging with people from all walks of life and being an active part of the community.

“I can also put up a gazebo with help from Tony, whom without, I wouldn’t be able to attend events,” Barbara added.

Read more about our volunteering opportunities here.