Fundraisers awarded for 137 years of volunteering experience
PUBLISHED: 12:50 07 April 2016 | UPDATED: 12:58 07 April 2016
The Bromley branch of the British Heart Foundation is the oldest in the country
A group of charity fundraisers from Bromley have been presented with awards in recognition of their 137 years of volunteering experience.
Colin Saxby, of Holbrook Lane, Chislehurst; Sylvia Smith, of Croydon Road; Trevor Binley, of The Mead; Andy Williams; and Nyani De Mendonca, of Elmers End Road, have all been honoured with certificates from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
The awards were presented to mark the 55th anniversary of the Bromley branch of the BHF - the charity’s longest-running branch in the country.
Sylvia Smith, the longest-serving member in the group, has been with the BHF since 1977 and still does her bit for the charity at the age of 88.
She told the Bromley Times: “My next door neighbour, Nick Freeman, was the first chairman in Bromley and a very active man.
“I lost my husband at the age of 52 and the two of us had supported Nick, and he said, ‘Sylvia, we are having a committee meeting’, and before I knew it I was actively involved.”
“We used to have collections two or three times a year and we did terrifically well.
“There was the Crystal Palace swim every year, which was popular with the children and raised a terrific amount of money, and we also had dinner dances.
“In those days, we could raise money for the hospitals in the Bromley area. I remember going to Orpington hospital, where we raised money for their first defibrillator.”
“It was lovely to receive the award. It was quite a surprise and nice to know they still value me, although I don’t do as much fundraising these days.”
Trevor Binley joined the group in 1990 as his daughter, Laura, was born with a heart defect in 1986. Over the years he has organised a range of local fundraising activities, including fun runs, swims and street collections.
Mr Binley said: “Most of the people in our group have become involved because a family member or friend has been affected by a heart condition.
“We’ve all become good friends and that keeps us motivated along with the knowledge that we’re helping BHF scientists find new ways to improve the surgeries, treatment and care.”