Volunteer Maureen wins top accolade

Maureen Johnston with her award for IT work with The Silver Line charity
Maureen Johnston with her award for IT work with The Silver Line charity

An Alford woman has won a top volunteering award.

Maureen Johnston, who now lives in South London, has been named IT Volunteer of the Year at the Tech4Good Awards 2016.

Maureen is director of information systems with The Silver Line charity, the UK’s only free, confidential, 24/7 helpline for older people.

She volunteered to work with the organisation for a few hours a week in 2013 and almost single-handedly established all of the IT, communications and telephone systems that support Silver Line’s volunteering activities across the country. Her work helps ensure volunteers and older people can enjoy regular friendship calls, for free, while keeping everyone safe.

The Tech4Good Awards aim to recognise organisations and individuals who use digital technology to improve the lives of others across the UK and beyond.

Maureen said she was stunned to be nominated for, and then to win, the IT Volunteer of the Year Award.

She added: “I just wanted to do something worthwhile to help vulnerable older people. But I never imagined being able to make such a difference through IT to so many people.

“I’m so proud that one of our oldest volunteers is in their 90s, and continues to make weekly calls to their friend using our system, which truly supports a friendship and enables anyone to volunteer for us.”

Sophie Andrews, CEO of The Silver Line, said: “We are all absolutely delighted that Maureen’s been recognised for everything she has done for us – and is still doing. She continues to make a massive contribution to how The Silver Line supports lonely and isolated older people.

“Many people are amazed to discover that she’s a volunteer - she puts in so many hours. We know we’re really lucky to benefit from her knowledge, skills, and commitment.”

Maureen’s retired father Bill Nicol, who is in his 80s, still lives in Millbank.

He was local blacksmith in the family business for 60 years and also led local group Billy Nicol’s band.