Award salutes Oaksey grandmother's decades of helping others (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Award salutes Oaksey grandmother's decades of helping others
A champion of voluntary work has been rewarded for her decades of commitment to helping others.
Grandmother-of-eight Miriam Nicholls, 81, of Oaksey, near Malmesbury, has been recognised for her devotion to helping small groups and charities.
With 34 years of experience working with DEVELOP, a charity set up to assist local groups and voluntary organisations, Mrs Nicholls has gained a wealth of knowledge to go on and inspire numerous local groups.
In recognition of her efforts, she has been named Volunteer of the Year at the Wiltshire Voluntary and Community Awards ceremony on Tuesday last week.
“I was astonished to win, but very pleased,” she said.
“I first heard about it at one of DEVELOP’s meetings when I heard I had been shortlisted.
“I felt rather humbled and rather surprised.”
Mrs Nicholls has also volunteered with the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) for 38 years, as well as Carers Support, Alzheimers Support, Housing Action for the Young, and North Wiltshire Rural Churches Group.
The mother-of-four helped to launch Malmesbury Link, as well as being a representative on the Community Council Board and also took on the role as an independent chairman of the then Wiltshire County Council Social Services Review panel.
Mrs Nicholls chaired the Wiltshire Advocacy project during its three year life, and, as well as being a trustee for DEVELOP, she now volunteers at Doorway, a homeless drop-in centre.
Closer to home in Oaksey, Mrs Nicholls spends her spare time reading with children at the local school, as well as representing the village on the Malmesbury Patients Participation Group.
Over the last 30 years Mrs Nicholls has worked and been a member of 30 different voluntary groups, from the Women’s Institute, to the Samaritans.
“I have met a number of interesting people," she said.
“When I first started for CAB and the Samaritans, before I moved to Oaksey, I came across quite a lot of people who really didn’t have much control over their lives or confidence.
“I realised that they needed someone to take an interest in them, but I couldn’t have done it by myself, so I decided that backing up others that were doing it was how I could help, by helping those groups to work better.
“I have been very lucky to have the flexibility in my life to do it.
“While I could have quite happily have spent my life looking after and doting on my four sons, I realised that they didn’t always want to have their mum around all the time.”
Mrs Nicholls other passion is her eight grandchildren, aged between 19 and four.
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