Cavendish volunteer Irene recognised for 30 years of service at palace party

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A veteran Cavendish volunteer, who has clocked up three decades of service to a local charity shop, received a special welcome to Buckingham Palace in recognition of her work.

Irene Rowe, 94, marked 30 years at the Sue Ryder healthcare charity shop at Cavendish’s village green this week, having first volunteered her service in the summer of 1987, in search of something meaningful to do with her spare time.

Her work took on added significance after her late husband fell ill and was cared for at the former Sue Ryder Cavendish nursing home.

In honour of her milestone, she was one of 1,000 people who attended the Buckingham Palace Garden Party – an event that recognises and rewards public service – in London last month.

“It’s partly the happy and relaxed atmosphere that’s kept me here volunteering at the shop,” said Mrs Rowe.

“When my husband later became ill and passed away at what was the Sue Ryder Cavendish nursing home, I felt an even greater connection to the cause.

“I like knowing the time I give to the shop on the green goes towards helping others get the same level of care my husband and I received.

“As a widow, volunteering at the shop has been a real help to me. We work hard as a team and it’s a lot of fun.

“Being invited to the Buckingham Palace Garden Party as recognition of my contribution to Sue Ryder and other local causes was an honour.

“It was an absolutely wonderful day, just magic, and I look forward to more days helping Sue Ryder raise more money to be there for people at the most difficult time of their lives.”

She was accompanied on the day by Andrew Trollope, the Sue Ryder Cavendish store manager, who said that Mrs Rowe had dedicated around 11,000 hours to the shop.

“Irene is an exceptionally hard-working volunteer and we are lucky to have her,” he said. “The shop showed excellent performance last year, and it’s thanks to volunteers like Irene that we were able to achieve this.”

The shop is currently seeking more volunteers. Anyone interested should contact 01787 282591.