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Hospice Volunteer wins city award

Long-term hospice supporter Doreen Loft has received a top Birmingham award in recognition of more than 30 years of volunteering.

Doreen gained the Birmingham Mail Brummie Lifetime Achievement Award at a glittering ceremony at the city’s Town Hall on Friday night.

Receiving her prize from Birmingham City Lord Mayor Coun Anne Underwood, Doreen told the audience that she didn’t feel she did anything special.

But John Taylor Hospice, which nominated Doreen, and the panel of judges disagreed - and named her a top Brummie. Judges praised Doreen for helping ‘hundreds of people’ over the years and described the list of tasks she has undertaken as ‘endless’.

Radio presenter Ed James who co-presented the awards ceremony with fellow DJ Gemma Hill said: “Doreen makes you feel proud to be a Brummie.” And he added: “Tonight we’re in the presence of people who change lives and put people first.”

Doreen first became a hospice supporter after her parents were cared for by John Taylor teams. Initially she volunteered with the day hospice in a host of jobs including transporting patients, providing refreshments and helping with activities.

When she turned 90 earlier this year Doreen was treated to a surprise party in the day hospice. Staunchly supported by her 92-year-old husband Ken, she still helps at the day hospice once a week by managing a trolley full of essentials for visitors and staff.

Doreen has also been a long-term fundraiser for the League of Friends for John Taylor Hospice, a group of volunteer fundraisers. Doreen’s jams and marmalades, which she has made and sold over decades to raise money, are so famous she is known to many as ‘The Marmalade Lady’.

A committee member with the League of Friends for many years, Doreen has helped organise League of Friends’ events including festive fairs and garden parties.

At the awards she was treated to a VIP Champagne reception at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery before walking the red carpet to the Town Hall.

“I am thrilled to receive the award – I’ve lived in Birmingham all my life so am a Brummie through and through,” said Doreen. “But I don’t think I deserve it. I’ve always said that I get more out of helping John Taylor than I ever give. The hospice is such a wonderful place and I really enjoy being there.”

Hospice CEO Penny Venables is delighted to see Doreen an award winner.

“Doreen is a hugely popular volunteer who has been a part of the John Taylor Hospice family for more than three decades,” she said. “The amount of people she has helped in that time is incredible and she thoroughly deserves this award.

“All of the John Taylor team congratulate her on receiving her Brummie and say a big thank you for the many, many hours she has dedicated to the hospice.”

As part of the award ceremony, a two-minute film about Doreen was shown. It features quotes from staff and day hospice visitors. Click here to watch it.

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