Dedicated helpers rewarded for charity shop long service
TIRELESS volunteers who give up their time to work at a Port Talbot charity shop have been praised for their commitment.
Seventeen long service badge awards — amounting to 70 years — have been given out to those who volunteer at the town's Cancer Research UK shop in Station Road.
Shop manager Alison Hughes said the presentation and afternoon tea was a wonderful occasion.
"They were all really surprised because they didn't know about it, they just thought it was another meeting," she said.
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"They were really pleased and really enjoyed themselves."
Ms Hughes said it was thanks to the generosity of The Grand Hotel in Port Talbot that they were able to hold the event.
"We are lucky as usually we don't have it in the budget to do something like this," she said.
"I would really like to thank The Grand Hotel for putting on an amazing array of cakes, tea and coffee, which they did for free as they are big supporters of Cancer Research."
Four volunteers received their one-year badge, seven had their three-year badge and four had a five-year badge.
Dedicated volunteer Marion Bowerman was awarded her 10-year badge and Joan Mason was recognised for her 15 years of service at the shop. "Everyone had their badge, flowers and a card," said Ms Hughes. We usually give them out at our Christmas functions, but there were so many to give out I wanted them to get them now.
"I have been working for six years and many of them have been there longer than me and have seen many different managers.
"They all work really hard and have worked well with all the changes we have faced. They take it all in their stride. We are really proud of them.
"We have one volunteer who has been here for 18 years, so soon she will be getting her 20-year badge."
The town centre shop currently has 24 volunteers — but is always looking for new people to help out.
"If anyone has a spare hour or can just do something during term time, we are grateful for anything," said Ms Howells.
"People can help with paperwork, behind the scenes or in the shop.
"We also take on young people from aged 14 who are doing their Duke of Edinburgh Award or the Welsh Baccalaureate.
"Our youngest volunteer is 14 and our oldest is 80. It is always a lovely atmosphere and everyone is friendly."