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A local volunteer who passed away earlier this year was honoured at the opening of the refurbished rest area in the Newlife Opportunity Centre on Monday 22 Oct.

The Opportunity Centre – based at the head office of Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children in Hemlock Way, Cannock – offers people the chance to get involved with the work of the organisation.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “Volunteers help us to help thousands of disabled and terminally ill children and their families every year. Some support us by processing donated stock so we can sell it to raise funds, others fundraise independently; the Opportunity Centre is key to welcoming volunteers, whatever they do.

The Opportunity Centre has undergone a refurbishment to provide improved rest and refreshment facilities for volunteers where they can meet and socialise. The area has been named ‘Sandra’s soft spot’ in recognition of the commitment of Sandra Wallbank, from Heath Hayes, who passed away earlier this year following a short illness. Sandra was a regular volunteer who spent hours repairing and preparing jewellery and selling it on stalls around the Cannock area, raising £12,420 for Newlife.

Sheila said: “I once asked Sandra why she was so committed and she said with much modesty ‘ I’ve got a soft spot for children.’ Sandra was very much a family person and a super volunteer.”

Sandra’s husband Roy Wallbank, attended the official opening which was conducted by new charity trustee Professor Iain Hughes, one of the UK’s leading paediatricians, who thanked all local volunteers.

Opportunity Centre manager Rob Blick said: “Newlife is recruiting more volunteers to offer help through the centre; everyone very welcome. There is a lift for disabled access, free refreshments and volunteers can offer their services to suit their availability; we need no regular commitment, so it is easy to help.”

To enquire about volunteering call Sarah on 01543 468888.

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