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Unsung hero: ‘Brilliant’ volunteer in the driving seat
A volunteer who has spent more than a decade working with the elderly at weekends has been nominated as an Unsung Hero.
Diane Marlow, 69, of Princes Avenue, Tolworth, works during the week as a driver for children with special needs at Woodlands School, in Leatherhead.
But it is her work with service users at Alfriston Day Centre, in Berrylands Road, for which she has been recognised.
She said: “I just enjoy it. I enjoy giving to others, I suppose. I know how lots of them don’t go out and I thought, well I’ll drive the minibus.
“There’s so many out in Kingston borough sitting on their own. I thought to give them something more interesting to do I’d take them out.
"It makes a lot of sense when they say, ‘Well, if it wasn’t for you, Di, we would just be sitting around watching TV’.
“Some are struggling and they wouldn’t get out if I didn’t take them, or people like me. “I love doing it. It does break the weekend up for them and they’ve got something to look forward to.”
Mrs Marlow also takes Alfriston’s service users on day trips, such as fish and chips in central London or a visit to the South Bank.
She organises holidays to the south coast, claiming only her travel expenses.
She said she arranges outings “somewhere interesting that normally they wouldn’t go to. I’ve done so many things I can’t remember them all.”
The centre’s fundraising raffles often feature prizes bought by Mrs Marlow.
Day centre manager Diane Double said: “She always provides lovely raffle prizes, and she really thinks about what people would like to win. “It certainly helps us with fundraising.
“She just knows that the older people are going to be lonely on their own.
“She really puts herself out for the service users – she’s brilliant. “I feel so lucky to have her as a volunteer.”
l To nominate your unsung hero call 020 8744 4244.