A Preston woman who has been listening to prisoners at the city’s prison for more than 25 years has been recognised for her volunteering efforts.Advertisement
Stella Hayes, 70, received her prize at the Palace of Westminster during the British Citizen Awards.
Alongside other members of the Samaritans she has been there as a Listener at HMP Preston, and her fellow volunteers decided to nominate her.
Joan Moncrief, member of the prison team for Preston and District Samaritans, said: “Stella has worked for over 25 years as a Samaritan in Preston but the contribution that really stands out for me is the work she has done with HMP Preston. When Stella and the team first went into HMP Preston there was a mixed response from the prison staff, but these ladies were bold and determined.
“The Preston branch of Samaritans and the staff of HMP Preston have marked the 25 years of Stella’s hard work with cards and flowers, and she was touched by these tokens of appreciation as she expects nothing in return for her work.”
Larry Lamb handed out the awards in the ceremony on Thursday and Stella was beaming with pride.
She said: “The award has come out of the blue, it is unbelievable! I really enjoy the work we do to help the prisoners, and the staff at the prison are wonderful and so supportive. The scheme, which started as there was a shortage of volunteers, is a fantastic way of supporting the prisoners.”
The awards are sponsored by law firm Irwin Mitchell and Stella had her award presented by regional managing partner of the company Alison Eddy.
She said: “There are so many people doing life-changing things in our communities and it is time they were recognised. I’m so proud that Irwin Mitchell are supporting these awards and was personally very honoured to present Stella with her award.”
Do you know Stella? Has she helped you? You can leave your tributes in the comments below