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Beckenham Barnardo's volunteer recognised for 55 years supporting charity

PUBLISHED: 11:40 31 May 2017 | UPDATED: 13:34 07 June 2017

Beckenham Barnardo's Helpers Group

Beckenham Barnardo's Helpers Group

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Janet Venables, 73, is a part of the Beckenham Barnardo's Helpers Group

Volunteers who have been organising community events in Bromley for Barnardo’s are being recognised for their dedication during Volunteers’ Week, June 1-8.

The group of nine friends who make up Beckenham Barnardo’s Helpers Group have now been volunteering for more than 250 years in total, organising an annual fete every year from the early 1960s to 2003, and a quiz night which continues.

Beckenham’s longest serving volunteer is Janet Venables, 73, of Bramerton Road, who has been supporting Barnardo’s for 55 years alongside her husband, Ted.

She said: “At achool I had a friend called Sarah who was a Barnardo’s girl, which is how I got to know about the charity. My dad also used to collect donation boxes from people’s houses, and when I was 18, he asked me to do it.

“Our friends Barbara and Arthur Chandler have also been part of the group since the sixties. We’d put on the fete every May Day bank holiday at the recreation ground. It had really strong communityy support - everyone was so happy and they really enjoyed coming out, and we would often raise more than £4,000 in a day.

“We had to give up the fate 10 years ago because we’re all in our early seventies now, and it was becoming too much work. But we decided we’d carry on with a quiz evening, and that’s still really popular, so we’re not planning to stop yet.”

The Beckenham group, along with a helpers group in Croydon, have raised over £225,000, all of which has gone to helping vulnerable children, young people and families.

Lynn Gradwell, director of Barnardo’s in London, said: “It’s amazing to think that a small groups of volunteers in Bromley have worked so hard for so many years on behalf of Barnardo’s.

“The money they’ve raised has made a real difference to the lives of countless children, young people and families, and I want to offer my sincere thanks to these inspirational people for everything that they done and continue to do.”

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