SHIRLEY Simmonds gave a lift to someone attending the founding meeting of the Friend to Friend charity in Holmfirth 18 years ago and ended up becoming a lynch pin of the organisation.
She was instrumental in setting up the Holmfirth, Honley and Marsden groups of the charity, which is dedicated to providing activities for elderly people to help combat isolation and loneliness.
Friend to Friend now has 16 branches in the Huddersfield area. The Holmfirth and Honley groups meet twice a month for lunch and run a range of activities, projects and tai chi classes.
Former teacher Shirley, 76, of Holmfirth, has been involved with charity work since she retired from teaching 20 years ago.
She used to volunteer with Cameo, a charity which helped the elderly and disabled with transport, as well as volunteering for the Samaritans.
She is now a driving force for Friend to Friend, applying her considerable organisational skills to the charity. Her days are filled with thinking up new activities, organising them and then helping the elderly to enjoy them.
She has run a project on textile heritage and is currently working on getting people involved in an oral history project with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund which she helped to organise.
Shirley was unanimously nominated by all eight volunteers from Holmfirth and Honley.
Colleague Shirley Boardman said: “Shirley shows great creativity and inventiveness and puts in many hours organising quizzes and activities. She interacts so positively with members, drawing them out and helping them to have a happy time. Without Shirley’s input and tireless work the lives of a good many elderly people would have been lonelier, less happy and less fulfilled.”
Shirley said “I am quite flattered to be nominated. I just like the members and enjoy working with them and I think they get quite a lot out of it”.