Liverpool volunteers take deserved accolades

'We hope to inspire others to volunteer'

The spotlight shone brightly on the inspirational efforts of Merseyside volunteers at a recent awards night in Liverpool.

The 800 Group Volunteer Awards, presented by the High Sheriff of Merseyside, Peter Woods, highlighted the work of 21 volunteers from different charities. One of the volunteers nominated by St Joseph's Hospice was John O'Neil (pictured). He was born with cerebral palsy but has been volunteering at the Thornton-based hospice for over 15 years, working in the grounds to keep the gardens looking clean and tidy as well as taking part in fundraising activities – including sitting in a bath full of cold beans.

The award for Volunteer of the Year, presented by main sponsor Towergate Insurance, went to Nugent's John McCormick in recognition of his 37 years' service to the charity. He has spent over three decades running the Bootle Group social club for adults with learning disabilities, which meets every Thursday evening. The club offers activities such as games, crafts and music – and members describe John as 'truly passionate about making sure people with learning disabilities are included and involved with their local community'.

The awards evening took place at the Shankly Hotel on 7 June and highlighted the work of the charities involved in the 800 Group – including Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton, Bradbury Fields, Henshaws, Imagine, Merseyside Society for Deaf People, Nugent and St Joseph's Hospice.

Dil Daly, the group's chairman, said: 'From this annual event we hope to inspire other people to volunteer for local charities.'