On Tuesday 5 June, as part of National Volunteers Week, Oxfordshire Community & Voluntary Action (OCVA) held their annual Oxfordshire Charity and Volunteer Awards at Oxford Town Hall.
Jean Mander, a Thame resident, had been nominated for a Volunteer Award for her long-standing involvement with the Thame Society for the Visually Impaired group, as well for her local fundraising for the Royal National Institute for the Blind and the Guide Dogs Association. Thame Society for the Visually Impaired is an independent branch of the Oxfordshire Association for the Blind and a not-for-profit charity which provides support and information services for individuals and families who are living with blindness.
Jean has been involved with this group since it was formed in September 1978 through supporting group members in a variety of craft, musical and informative activities. In 2013, Jean became Group Leader where she now prepares and organises all meetings and activities, including arranging transport, with support from a number of generous volunteers. Jean also telephones and visits those who cannot come to the group to check how they are doing and to provide emotional support. The Deputy Mayor of Thame, Cllr Linda Emery, also a volunteer with this group, nominated Jean for this award.
Unbeknown to Jean and those who had come to support her, she had also been chosen by an independent panel of judges as the winner of the special Long Service award, for her involvement with Thame Society for the Visually Impaired which spans 40 years.