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VAO Announces Life Membership and Awards

VAO announces Honorary Life Membership and trustee Awards

25 October 2009

Vision Aid Overseas announced this year’s Honorary Life Membership and Trustee Awards at their AGM,  held last weekend.  The awards were presented by the Charity’s Chairman,  Felicity Harding during the Achievements Dinner and Trustee Awards on Saturday evening at the Aston Business School, Birmingham.

Felicity HardingThe Honorary Life Membership is given to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the charity and who better to receive the honour as we enter our 25th year, than former Director, Tym Marsh.  For ten years Tym guided the charity through a myriad of challenges and this was recognised by the Chairman Ms Harding, who on presentation of the award on the night, said, “ For a decade his commitment to Vision Aid Overseas was unquestionable… with Tym Marsh at the helm Vision Aid Overseas prospered in every way during his tenure leaving a strong and sound legacy for his successors.”

Vision Aid Overseas works across the developing world providing training and outreach services to those who have no access to basic eyecare services.  This is something that we all take for granted as there are so many opportunities for us here in the UK to have access to eyecare, and it is thanks to the work of the UK volunteers and local clinicians in our partner countries that the Charity can transform the lives of those who suffer disadvantage and poverty simply from the lack of spectacles.

The Trustee Awards presented at the AGM, recognises those volunteers who have continued to provide an outstanding service to all aspects of Vision Aid Overseas’ work.  Those recognised with Trustee Awards at last weekends Achievements Dinner are without exception another example of the tireless effort the volunteers give to Vision Aid Overseas. 

And so the Charity was  delighted to congratulate Anne Hull who has worked with Vision Aid Overseas since 1996 and has been a team member or team leader on 14 projects and until earlier this year was Country Leader in Zambia, where she was deeply involved in the implementation of a new Vision Centre at the University Teaching Hospital.  Ms Harding said on the night, “more than anything else it is Anne’s heartfelt commitment to our patients that has touched everyone she has worked with.”

Dennis Williams has worked since 1989 and his  dedication and enthusiasm, has enabled Vision Aid Overseas to achieve what it has done in Sierra Leone. During the civil war years his life was in danger and his escape from the country hazardous in the extreme, but on his return his enthusiasm was undiminished and he devoted himself re-establishing what had been so nearly destroyed, despite increasing health and sight problems of his own. 

Promoting VAO’s work amongst Dispensing Opticians, Michelle Derbyshire has spent nearly a decade juggling her role as Head of The Distance Learning Institute at the ABDO College and being a keen activist for Vision Aid Overseas.  It has been her keen interest in developing volunteering opportunities for dispensing opticians which has enabled many to travel on projects with Vision Aid Overseas.

Poonam Sharma was chosen for her tireless efforts on every ‘front line’ of the Charity’s work.  Not only is she about to  embark on her sixth project in less than 5 years but in that time Poonam has been one of Vision Aid Overseas’ leading volunteer fundraisers.  In that time she has also completed three British 10k runs, two Great North Runs and earlier this year she led the planning and participation of a team taking on the Three Peaks Challenge.  Ms Harding took the “opportunity to thank her for being an inspirational volunteer and fundraiser and for personifying activism for Vision Aid Overseas.”

And finally there was a first for the Trustee Awards as husband and wife team, Wendy and David Dick were awarded for their family commitment to Vision Aid Overseas.  With 34 years of service to the Charity between them the couple have not only invested time and money to eyecare in Africa, but work tirelessly in the UK to ensure that many other volunteers are able to work for the Charity.  It was with ‘great pleasure’ that the Chairman presented this ‘joint Trustee Award’.

The Awards dinner brought an end to a successful first day at Vision Aid Overseas’ AGM and with celebrations for the Charity’s 25th Anniversary looming it was a wonderful opportunity to recognise those who have made an outstanding contribution to the prevention of avoidable blindness to date.

Further information about Vision Aid Overseas

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