Daisy Lodge staff are recognised with prestigious volunteer award

Daisy Lodge staff are recognised with prestigious volunteer award

12 September 2018

VOLUNTEERS at Daisy Lodge in Newcastle have received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVs) in recognition of their significant contribution to the charity.

The award is regarded as an MBE for voluntary groups in the UK and a team of 69 local men and women regularly give their time to help Daisy Lodge provide therapeutic short breaks for children and young people living with cancer in Northern Ireland.

Daisy Lodge is run by the Cancer Fund for Children with golf star Rory McIlroy as one of its famous  supporters. 

The Lord Lieutenant of County Down, David Lindsay, was joined by a number of the charity’s volunteers and ambassadors, as well as board members past and present, to celebrate the achievement on Thursday.

Julie Tumelty (21), from Crossgar, has been a youth ambassador working with families over the summer.

The former St Mary’s High School pupil was aged 12 when she was told in 2009 that she had an inoperable brain tumour.

Along with her parents and siblings, she enjoyed many family breaks at Daisy Lodge as she went through more than two years of chemotherapy.

After being in remission for seven years this month, Julie says that families appreciates her help and insight as she helps out with workshops during the break.

“Everything is done with a meaning at Daisy Lodge but it’s done in a fun way and families don’t have to attend workshops if they don’t want to,” said Julie.

“Mostly the parents like to ask me about my own cancer experience. I feel that I can help them to know what to expect when the treatment all comes to an end and to realise that it does come to an end.”

Wendy McCulla, chairperson of Cancer Fund for Children, praised the volunteers for their work. 

She said: “Last year alone, our team of 69 volunteers have dedicated over 4,131 hours of their time and skills; providing complementary therapies and providing beauty therapies, helping out with housekeeping duties and supporting our team of specialists facilitate residential group work for young people living with cancer.  

“This is a saving to Cancer Fund for Children of over £52,000. We quite simply would not be able to help hundreds of families every year without the commitment, energy and support of our volunteers”  ”

Daisy Lodge is unique in the UK and the Republic of Ireland for the help and experience it offers families, according to Raphael O’Connor, Daisy Lodge’s residential services manager.

“When families check out after a short break, you can see the relief of their faces and thanks for us helping to connect them again as they get a chance to get away from the clinical environment,” he added.

“This award is a testament to the volunteers that we have and the quality of the volunteers.”

 For more information about Cancer Fund for Children visit www.cancerfundforchildren.com.