Somerset Volunteers Celebrate Victory over Storm Ciara at Wells

Last Sunday responding to an invitation from the High Sheriff of Somerset, Wells Cathedral saw 600 hardy unsung heroes and supporters congregate to Celebrate Somerset Volunteering, kindly hosted by the Dean and Chapter at Wells Cathedral.

In the teeth of storm Ciara, they came windswept and sodden to be recognised with over 100 organisations represented from across the county. It was an opportunity to say a massive thank you to so many who give their time without seeking recognition for the help they provide to others in need from young and old, the homeless, hungry and mentally or physically sick.

Choral Evensong was a multi faith celebration of volunteering in Somerset. The Cathedral’s regular and volunteer choirs sang together; there were readings from Somerset and Quartet Community Foundations, and prayers from the High Sheriff Chaplain and Police Cadets. This was followed by reflections on the importance of volunteering from Muslim, Hindu and Jewish faith groups.

Johnnie Halliday also took the opportunity to recognise individuals from organisations that he has met during his year by presenting High Sheriff Community Awards to:

Gill Brown: for her many years of raising money for Children’s Hospice South West and her care for vulnerable children. (right of High Sheriff)
Katy Massey: for her volunteering and advocacy for Mentoring Plus and Bath Youth Partnership. (Left of High Sheriff)
Peter Renshaw: for his multiple services to volunteering and fundraising via Rotary Taunton, Somerset Pride of Youth Awards, and for League of Friends Musgrove Park Hospital. (Right on end)
Lt Theresa Torr: for her services to Taunton homeless and the extra mile she goes in her work for the Salvation Army. (Middle left of High Sheriff)
Suzie Wilkinson: for her many years of voluntary service to the Rural community in Somerset via the Farming Community Network (FCN). (Left on end)

Afterwards many of the congregation stayed to enjoy refreshments including the opportunity to toast the many volunteers represented across our historic County. The High Sheriff thanked all those involved in organizing such a great event together with refreshment sponsors Lye Cross Farm, Old Mill, Clark Wilmott Solicitors, Savills and Lawrences Auctioneers.

In thanking the Dean and Chapter at Wells and Jackie Croft in particular (pictured with the Dean and High Sheriff), Johnnie Halliday in closing said “What has inspired me during my year in office is to meet so many people from all walks of life and backgrounds who give their time and energy to improve the lives of others’ in our county” adding “lets spread the word and encourage the next generation of volunteers across our beautiful county of Somerset to get involved”

The Dean of Wells, the Very Reverend Dr John Davies, said “It was inspiring to hear the contributions that volunteers in Somerset make to their community, day after day, without asking for anything in return. The service celebrated the richness and variety of volunteering as well as the diversity of those who give their time: it was a pleasure to welcome the County of Somerset’s volunteers to their Cathedral.”