Dot honoured for remarkable charity support
AFTER nearly a quarter of a century of dedication, a volunteer from Wantage has been recognised with a national award. Dot Armstrong has been sorting and selling stock every Saturday in the Cancer Research UK shop in Wallingford Street for 23 years.
The 84-year-old mum-of-three is the longest-serving volunteer at the shop and has lived in the town all her life. She was awarded in the annual Flame of Hope Awards, which acknowledge remarkable fundraising and volunteering.
Mrs Armstrong, from Orchard Road, was named a Cancer Research UK honorary fellow for her unflinching loyalty. She picked up the award at a ceremony in London on Friday, June 10, hosted by Cancer Research UK’s chairman Michael Pragnell.
The audience at Hotel Russell heard how Mrs Armstrong had often covered for the manager if she was away.
Mrs Armstrong said the award came “out of the blue.”
She said: “When I opened the letter I got in touch with the shop manager because I could not believe it.
“It was such a surprise, but a really lovely one.
“I have always worked to try to help others but I didn’t expect anything like that. The ceremony was just wonderful.”
Over the years Mrs Armstrong has encouraged friends and family to donate stock, sold raffle tickets, and organised many events to raise cash for research.
She was nominated by the Wantage shop manager Mel Wigley, who said: “Dot’s outstanding support is an inspiration. She works tirelessly and with great enthusiasm.
“Many of our Saturday customers come in to have a chat with Dot and end up making a purchase.
“Dot is well known in the town and she knows how rewarding volunteering can be. It is not all sitting around drinking tea.”
Helen Johnstone, Cancer Research UK spokesman for Oxfordshire, added: “These awards are our way of saying thanks to the people who are the lifeblood of our organisation – people who give their time freely to raise money for research and promote greater awareness of the disease, and yet ask for nothing in return.”