Volunteer named Woman of Oldham for decades of help

A GREENFIELD woman who has dedicated decades to volunteering with local and national charities was left ‘stunned’ to be named Woman of Oldham 2019.Anne Watson, who lives in Greenfield, had no idea she was to receive the prestigious accolade at the 26th annual Woman of Oldham charity luncheon at The White Hart.

The committee organises fundraisers in aid of its chosen charities each year and has raised £142,000 over 26 years.

And each September they name their ‘Woman of Oldham’ to honour someone who has worked tirelessly for many years in various voluntary organisations.

This year’s winner Anne admitted: “I will be pleased when I have got over the shock! I didn’t know anything about it. I am stunned.”

It is the second accolade this year for retired teacher Anne after she received a national award for her voluntary service at charity Oxfam’s shop in Oldham over 20 years.

Her other charity and volunteer work includes organising a holiday scheme for children coming to stay in the area with local families.

When war broke out in Kosovo, she led a team of volunteers looking after the refugees on a daily basis for several months while they stayed in Oldham.

She is involved with the Unity Project for Asylum Seekers and also finds time to help out with the ward trolley at the Royal Oldham Hospital.

She also worked at the Contact Centre in Oldham helping families that have broken down to see their children each week.

And she worked with Women’s Voluntary Services (WRVS) running an emergency and training team delivering meals to the elderly, until the service closed.

Anne, who has attended the charity luncheons for 22 years, added: “When the description of the winner was being read out I didn’t realise it was me until right at the end!

“I won the national Oxfam award earlier this year but to win this is even more special.”

Anne was presented with a rose bowl and flowers by Woman of Oldham chairperson Eileen Cooper.

Eileen said: “It is always a difficult task for the committee in choosing the winner of the award and this year was no exception. Anne is a very worthy winner.”

About 180 guests enjoyed the three-course luncheon and entertainment from singer Alan Burton, who really got the party started with his fabulous voice and great songbook.

This year’s chosen charity is Inspire Women, a local non-profit organisation encouraging women to have a voice and co-produce services that overcome loneliness, isolation and lack of confidence.

The last fundraising event of the year is a Christmas Cracker flower demonstration by Kathleen Williams on Saturday, November 23 at Grotton Pavilion from 2pm-4pm.

Tickets cost £7.50 per person, including a mince pies and glass of wine, and are available from Janet Larton on 0161 652 8878.

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