Northumberland volunteer takes part in video call with The Queen and Duchess of Cornwall
A Rothbury woman has been thanked by The Queen and Duchess of Cornwall for her voluntary work.
Sue Cadwallader took part in a video call to recognise and thank volunteers from the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), as the charity marks one year since the launch of the NHS Volunteer Responders Scheme.
“It certainly wasn’t an average day,” she admitted.
"It was an amazing experience and probably one that I won’t repeat in my lifetime.
"They were so positive and interested in what we were doing and how the RVS had adapted its work over the past year.”
The 54-year-old has been a volunteer at Northumberland Good Neighbours Service since January 2020, having joined when her eldest son Sam, who was an existing volunteer, said the service was in need of drivers to take clients to and from the Rothbury social centre.
Pre-lockdown, the Rothbury centre was a place for people to come together, socialise and support one another.
Sue started off by transporting clients to and from the service but found herself wanting to stick around and help with the activities and client support.
During the pandemic, Sue has been supporting two of the centre’s regulars with weekly telephone calls and has offered support with tasks such as shopping and errands. She has also been involved in the distribution of food hampers and Christmas gifts to the service’s clients.
“I love it,” Sue told Her Majesty and Her Royal Highness, who are Patron and President of the RVS respectively.
“It’s such good fun, meeting new people and getting the community involved with each other.
"We’ve got quite a diverse group in Rothbury and I have been supporting the health and wellness calls and supporting clients if they need anything at all, whether it’s a prescription or just a chat.
"I phone them once a week to see how they are getting on and it’s great fun. There’s always lots of laughter.
"Working with my son, I actually get to see him once in a while so it’s quite nice,” she joked. “The fact we can work together on different projects has been amazing.”
The Duchess was interested to hear how Sue’s volunteering, which continued remotely during lockdown, gave her a real purpose which helped her through the pandemic.
She is retired from her role of supporting children with autism at The Toby Henderson Trust: Centre for Autism Development where she worked after visiting with her autistic son Jack.
Sue said: “When you retire you think you are going to have a lot of time on your hands but I lost my way a little bit.
“I felt I needed some direction. I had been very busy and all of a sudden I wasn’t so it’s given me a purpose and I love doing it.”
Praising the work of the 12.7 million people in the UK who have stepped forward to volunteer since March last year, The Queen said: “I think it’s wonderful work. Thank you to everybody - and all the others too who have been volunteering. It has been a great help.”
The Duchess of Cornwall added: “Thank you all very much for all you’ve done throughout the year, throughout the pandemic. We couldn’t have done without you.”