Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Decades of community work rewarded

A WOMAN who dedicated more than 30 years of her life to charity work has won an award.

A WOMAN who dedicated more than 30 years of her life to charity work has won an award.

Evelyne Philpot, 68, has been given the Margarette Golding Award, the highest accolade presented by women’s club Inner Wheel.

The award is made to women for community work and has only been presented 200 times worldwide since it began in 2001.

Mrs Philpot, of Phyllis Court Drive, Henley, is the current president of the Marlow branch of the Inner Wheel.

She began her charity work in the late Seventies, tending to injured children brought here from Vietnam during the war there.

Since then, she has raised money for charities including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, Pathways, Guide Dogs for the Blind and Sue Ryder.

Mrs Philpot decided to take a more active role in charity work after her husband, Norman, died in 1986.

She joined the Henley branch of Inner Wheel and became president three years ago. When the branch closed due to falling numbers, she moved to the Marlow branch and was voted in as president this year.

The branch nominated Mrs Philpot for the award, which will be presented at a ceremony next month.

The nomination was approved by the national and international boards of Inner Wheel and announced at a meeting of the Marlow branch.

“I was so surprised and shocked,” she said. “It’s quite a prestigious award.

“I don’t think I’ve done that much. The reason I took up charity work was because I have no children and my husband died. I started with the Vietnam work and have done much more since then.

“A lot of people went out to Vietnam but I could only do night work. It wasn’t very pleasant — some of the children had been shot and some died.”

Mrs Philpot was also given the Inner Wheel award for district nine, which covers Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

She was invited to join the Marlow branch when the Henley one closed. She said: “I knew lots of people who belonged to it and I’d been over to Marlow and enjoyed it. I had invitations to other clubs but I liked Marlow so I joined and I haven’t regretted it at all.”

Mrs Philpot was born to Reg and Nancy Daniels in 1945 in her mother’s front bedroom in St Mark’s Road, Henley.

She went to school in Henley and then worked in social services in London and for companies including Budweiser.

While at Budweiser, she was given two free crates of beer each month. However, as she does not drink, she put them to good use as raffle prizes.

Mrs Philpot married Norman, who worked at the water research centre in Medmenham, in 1966 at Remenham church.

The couple were keen motorcyclists and often went on biking holidays around Europe. Mrs Philpot rode a Kawasaki. Her husband ran a biker’s club from their home.Mrs Philpot moved to Phyllis Court Drive in 2011.

Carol Bailey, former Marlow branch president, said: “One reason why the Margarette Golding Award is so unusual is because Evelyne has not been involved with Inner Wheel for a long time — six years — but she has been so amazing.

“She has had an incredibly full life and deserves this honour for services to the community.

“Lots of people in Marlow have been involved with Inner Wheel for years and have never heard of something like this. It has caused quite a stir. To us it’s like getting the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Inner Wheel was founded by Margarette Golding 90 years ago as a club for the wives of Rotarians but it now offers open membership.

It is the largest women’s service organisation in the world with more than 100,000 members.

The Marlow branch currently has 30 members aged between 45 and their late eighties.

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