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Stella Hayes who listens to Preston prisoner’s darkest thoughts recognised for voluntary service

Posted on - 6th January, 2016 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Charities, People
Stella Hayes who spends spare time in HMP Preston helping prisoners

Stella Hayes who spends spare time in HMP Preston helping prisoners

The listening ear of Samaritan Stella is to be rewarded for its tireless service.

Stella Hayes, 70, has been selected for a British Citizen Award for her work to speak with prisoners at HMP Preston.

She’s been visiting the prison for 25 years to hear the problems and thoughts of those behind bars.

Stella is one of The Listeners who sit and help those who may be feeling stressed, terrified, guilty or bereaved.

Stella 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.”

Stella has been training up other Samaritans for years to join her in the prison.

She was nominated for a BCA by Joan Moncrief, member of the prison team and Preston and District Samaritans.

Joan 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.”

One of 33 medallists, Stella is to receive her award in a ceremony on Thursday 28 January at the Palace of Westminster.

The awards are sponsored by ethical law firm Irwin Mitchell.

Alison Eddy, Irwin Mitchell regional managing partner, said: “At Irwin Mitchell, we’re proud to be continuing our support of the British Citizen Awards. I personally attended the award ceremony in July and was humbled by the stories that I heard on the day.

“There are so many incredible people doing life-changing things for others, and it’s great they are being recognised by the British Citizen Awards.”

Do you know Stella? Let us know in the comments below

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