VOLUNTEER Bev Owen is a shining light in an organisation that provides a beacon of hope for lonely, elderly people in Northwich.

The 53-year-old plays a fundamental role in the local branch of Contact the Elderly, a national charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people.

And it’s for this reason that Bev, from Broadacre in Comberbach, has been nominated for the latest Good Citizen Award.

As group co-ordinator, Bev helps organise and host monthly tea parties for people aged 75 and over, who live alone, offering a regular and vital friendship link every month.

Fellow volunteer Chell Dutton, from Winnington, nominated Bev for the award.

She said: “Not only has Bev played a crucial role in setting up our group and coordinating our monthly tea parties, she has used her additional time to make home and hospital visits with our guests, helping out with appointments and cleaning houses. She really does go above and beyond the original intention of our volunteer work.”

Chell added: “All of the ladies that I have met through our tea party group are quite simply amazing, but I believe that Bev deserves an extra special thank you for being the glue that holds us all together.”

And yet for Bev, who’s spent her career working as a secretary and personal assistant, it’s simply ‘the right thing to do’.

She said: “A lot of our elderly guests are by themselves either because their families live so far away, or because they don’t have any family anymore. It’s sad because the message that so often comes through is that they are lonely.

“I can’t tell you how much they look forward to our tea parties or our visits. I get a lot of enjoyment out of being able to help. I really enjoy mixing with older people, they’ve often have such interesting stories to tell.”

Beyond the monthly parties, which are a core part of the charity’s remit, Bev also makes regular phone calls and visits to the Northwich group’s 11 elderly members.

Last month she took the group’s only male guest, Ken, out for birthday. The 93-year-old has no local family and can go days without seeing or speaking to anyone. Along with another volunteer Bev took him to visit his sister-in-law in Heswall before heading to Parkgate for fish, chips, mushy peas and ice cream on the sea front.

She said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be able to do this with Ken, and it really meant the world to him.”

Even a broken elbow hasn’t stopped the mum-of-two from fulfilling her duties, she’s simply enlisted the help of her husband Ian and daughter Jessica with driving responsibilities.

For anyone thinking of volunteering to help the group, Bev’s advice is ‘go for it’,

She said: “We have a great team of volunteers who are passionate about what they do, and we’ve created a lovely community. It’s just so important but it’s also so rewarding.”

To find out more about the charity visit contact-the-elderly.org.uk