DEDICATED volunteers Barbara and Terry Smith are to receive the royal seal of approval for their hard work running a luncheon club and activities at a Sheffield sheltered housing complex.
The couple, who live at Sheffield Homes’ Welwyn Court sheltered scheme, Basegreen, were among 60 people in Yorkshire to receive Diamond Champions awards for the Queen’s Jubilee.
Now Barbara has also been selected as one of 10 people across the country to receive a national award from the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall in a reception at St James’s Palace.
Terry has been invited to join her as her guest.
The couple, who met in 1964 while working on the buses, when Terry was a driver and Barbara was a ‘clippie’, were both chosen to become regional Diamond Champions out of 4,500 entrants.
Since Barbara, aged 65, retired from working in a city centre shop, she has run a lunch club every weekday for tenants in the scheme, as well as elderly people living in the neighbourhood.
She does all the shopping and cooks healthy meals, including desserts, and even provides diabetic options. Meals are even delivered to tenants unable to get into the dining room.
Terry, 71, a housing warden for 28 years before his retirement, runs a coffee morning three times a week, bingo, quiz and games evenings twice weekly, and organises fundraising events.
Barbara, married to Terry for 47 years, said: “We couldn’t ever imagine not doing this for our friends and neighbours. We have never been the type to just sit twiddling our thumbs wondering how we can help, we just get on and do it.
“We never expected we were going to be nominated let alone win. It’s lovely and we will continue to run our lunch club for as long as we can.”
The Diamond Champions scheme has been organised by WRVS, an older people’s charity and voluntary organisation, and aims to recognise senior citizens who give their time to improve the lives of those around them.
Rhian Owen, of Sheffield Homes, said: “I’m sure all the tenants in Welwyn Court will join me in congratulating Barbara and Terry on this fantastic and well deserved achievement and I’m sure they will have a lovely time at St James’ Palace.”