A VOLUNTEER who received a High Sheriff’s award for his contribution to the community thought his nomination was a “wind-up”.
Bob Partridge is a trustee of Shiplake memorial hall in Memorial Avenue and project managed the refurbishment of the building, which was completed in October and cost £460,000.
He is also a bell-ringer at the Church of St Peter and Paul in the village and helped fund-raise to have eight new bells installed in 2009.
Mr Partridge, a retired electrical telecommunications engineer, has also designed a new newsletter for the village and created the parish council’s first website.
He was presented with his award by Professor Graham Upton, the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire, before last week’s meeting of Shiplake Parish Council, which nominated him.
Prof Upton said: “I was very keen to be able to make the presentation to Bob personally for the things that he has done.”
He told Mr Partridge: “You have done a huge amount for the village and have given that extra bit in a number of ways. You have used your engineering and bell-ringing skills to install bells at the church and create a centre of real excellence here and it is testament to your involvement in making this happen.”
Prof Upton said the nomination for the award was “glowing” and added: “Thank you for doing these things. Thank you on behalf of the village and parish council, thank you on behalf of the county and thank you on behalf of the Queen.”
Mr Partridge, who lives in Station Road with his wife Susan, was unable to attend the official awards ceremony at county hall with the16 other award- winners because he was on holiday in East Germany, “enjoying myself riding steam trains”. He said he was as surprised to be nominated as he was delighted to win.
Mr Partridge said: “I have to say that when the email arrived I first thought it was a wind-up.
“I then looked at the responsibilities of the High Sheriff and it said he raised armies and collected taxes so I was unsure of what I had let myself in for.
“It is a great honour for me and the people who worked with me. It really is an honour for the village and I am very pleased to accept it.”
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Partridge said: “I just like doing projects and I wanted to be sure that I had something to do when I started winding down my professional work and these projects just happened.”
Tudor Taylor, who chairs the parish council, said: “Everybody in this village knows Bob. He is totally selfless in what he does.
“The work he has done in the village is legend. He has done absolutely fantastic work over the years and nominating him for the award was a no-brainer.”
• The memorial hall, which is used by a number of community groups and for events, was built in 1925. The improvements included a new kitchen, a meeting room and a new lobby. The hall committee raised £100,000 towards the cost of the work.
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The charity takes isolated people who are aged 75 or over out for Sunday tea once a month to enjoy socialising.
Drivers take the guests to a volunteer’s house for the tea party and then join them.
Suzan Hyland, national volunteer support officer for the charity, said: “This regular monthly outing makes a huge difference to the life of an isolated person and gives them something to look forward to. New volunteers are always welcome too.”
The charity, founded by Trevor Lyttleton in 1965, has 530 groups and almost 7,000 volunteers nationwide.
For more information, call Mrs Hyland on 0207 420 5811 or email suzan.hyland@ contact-the-elderly.org.uk