A volunteer at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice has received one of the highest accolades a Rotary Club can give.
Judy Francis was kept in the dark about the real reason for her invitation to the special Rotary Club of Stamford lunch at the town’s George Hotel.
She believed she was there to update members about Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice, the charity she has supported for more than two decades. The Rotary Club donated time and money to the £6m appeal to build a new inpatient unit at the hospice in Longthorpe, Peterborough.
It was only when details of the winner of the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award were being read out that Judy turned to her guest and said: ‘Are they talking about me?’
Her guest Thorpe Hall Hospice community fundraiser Joely Garner said: “I’d been working with the Rotary members to ensure Judy knew nothing about the real reason for being invited to the lunch so it was a total surprise.”
Judy was nominated for the award to mark her ‘long-standing contribution to Thorpe Hall Hospice, her dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to the cause’. A club can request to give the award to non-Rotarians who help good cases.
Judy, who recently celebrated her 80th birthday with an afternoon tea at Thorpe Hall – and a request that money was donated to the hospice in lieu of gifts, said she was “proud, honoured and surprised” to be given the award by president elect Bryan Spooner.