Volunteer Viv’s national award recognises her brilliant work

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A volunteer at a Great Cornard group that supports 80 stroke sufferers and their families has been given a national award.

Viv Bourne was named a winner of The British Volunteer Awards, run by The Sunday Telegraph and Waitrose, for her work with Success After Stroke, based at The Stevenson Centre.

She was given £500 towards the charity and a certificate recognising her contribution.

“I am completely undeserving of this award but accepted it on behalf of all those wonderful people who have contributed to the success of this special charity, both past and present,” she said.

Mrs Bourne became involved with a group of four stroke survivors which her friend Liz Greene visited once a week at The Bridge Project in 1999.

The group grew and eventually became a registered charity and now has nine therapists helping its 80 members with speech, mental and physical rehabilitation as well as volunteers on hand to assist and guide in lessons including art, maths, IT and swimming.

Members can also sail at the Woolverstone Project, ride horses at The Shelley Centre and take part in outings and hear visiting speakers.

“One of the most important things about SAS is the camaraderie,” said Mrs Bourne. “The members boost each other and we have had numerous testimonials such as ‘Since coming to SAS, I have learned to smile again’.”

John Fielden, who suffered a stroke 17 years ago and has been involved with SAS from the beginning, said: “It helps me focus, Viv is brilliant.”

Mrs Bourne, from Brettenham, was keen to encourage younger volunteers to join the group to enable the members to mix with different generations.

“If anyone feels they would like to become a volunteer in any area, I can tell them that they will get much more out of it than they put in,” she said.

Membership costs £2.50 per week and anyone interested in volunteering, joining or donating to the group can contact Marian Bagnall on 01473 822328, email info@successafterstroke.org.uk or go to www.successafterstroke.org.uk.

The main fundraising event for Success After Stroke is a Carols by Candlelight event at Holy Trinity Church in Long Melford tonight.

The event starts at 7pm and helps to raise around £20,000 each year for the charity.