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Berkshire man lauded as a ‘pillar of strength’ is finalist for national volunteer award

Tue 07 Nov 2023

A remarkable volunteer from Newbury, Berkshire, is in the running for a national award from UK charity Headway – the brain injury association for always “going the extra mile”.

For over a decade, John Marriage, 78, has volunteered for local brain injury charity Headway Basingstoke, going above and beyond to improve the lives of brain injury survivors.

As a result, John is one of just three finalists for the Volunteer of the Year Award.

The accolade, sponsored by Anthony Gold Solicitors LLP, will be presented by Headway – the brain injury association, at its glittering awards ceremony on December 8 at the Landmark London hotel.

John was nominated for the award by Daniel Snyman from Headway Basingstoke. Daniel said: “John's impact at Headway Basingstoke cannot be overstated. He has made meaningful connections with our clients, acting as a beacon of support, reassurance, and empathy. 

He is an exceptional volunteer at our organisation, demonstrating unwavering dedication, selflessness, and an unmatchable commitment to our cause.”

Officially, John volunteers his time three days a week but consistently exceeds his usual schedule. Daniel described John’s efforts, which include eight years as a Headway trustee, as having been “instrumental” to the continuing success of Headway Basingstoke.

John also notably stepped up his support during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Despite the circumstances, John remained a pillar of strength, helping to ensure our organisation continued to provide the care and assistance our clients rely upon,” said Daniel.

“His unwavering dedication extends to vital tasks, such as ensuring our client welfare meals are always well-stocked and undertaking regular donation and supply collection trips. These acts of kindness support our clients and exemplify his exceptional commitment to Headway Basingstoke’s mission to help people affected by brain injury.

“Beyond his regular volunteer responsibilities, John consistently goes the extra mile to ensure our clients' wellbeing. This includes dedicating his weekends to tending to their vegetable gardens or greenhouses, even though it requires a 40-mile round trip each time. 

His commitment to fostering a nurturing environment for our clients is unparalleled and inspires us all. His positive influence on our organisation is immeasurable, and it is hard to envision Headway Basingstoke without his invaluable contributions.”

Speaking about his nomination for Headway’s Volunteer of the Year Award, John said: “For the last ten years, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with our Headway Basingstoke clients and their families, who are living with the effects of brain injury, and I continue to be inspired by them.

To be nominated for Headway Volunteer of the Year is a wonderful experience and a testament to my fellow Trustees and the staff and clients at Headway Basingstoke, with whom it is my great privilege to work.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank everyone at Headway – the brain injury association for their unstinting support.”


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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