Volunteers across Amber Valley were recognised at a special Christmas party in Ripley.
Amber Valley (AVCVS) hosted the sport-themed fancy dress event at St Joseph’s Church on Butterley Hill as a way of saying thank you to the heros who give up their time for free to help others.
Alongside mince pies and raffles, the 30 volunteers, who help others in a range of ways from befriending the elderly, to teaching sign language, were visited by Olympic torch bearer John Stamp.
Nathan Hutchinson of Amber Valley CVS said: “The Olympics illustrated the dedication and value that volunteers offer to make a real difference to people’s lives every day, Amber Valley CVS viewed this as the ideal theme for our celebration.”
Enjoying the occasion on Wednesday was Mary Saunders, 65, of Glebe Avenue, Ripley, who is part of AVCVS befriending scheme.
Mary took up befriending when she retired as a way of keeping busy.
“When I first retired I hadn’t got a clue what i wanted to do,” she said. “I literally walked in off the street and said what can I do to help? I’m very glad I did.”
Mary added: “A lot of these people are living on their own, they see very few people and they look forward to a phone call or a visit.”
Sitting alongside Mary was 24-year-old Katie Quinn, of Nottingham Lane, Ironville, who helps teach sign language at Hearing Help Amber Valley, based at Derby Road, Marehay.
The supermarket worker said volunteering is about learning and fulfilment.
She said: “I first went down there about two years ago and since then I’ve never looked back.
“I can spell my name in sign language, put together sentences and I can lip read now. I sometimes get to use it at work now too!”
If you are interested in joining the volunteer army, call AVCVS on 01773 512076, or email: email@example.com.