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FACT: This team has 'Hearts of Gold'

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A team of volunteers and their leader have both won a charity’s Hearts of Gold Award 2021.

Team Fenland Association of Community Transport and the organisation’s chairman Gary Christy were nominated separately for a Linking Hands Charity UK’s Hearts of Gold Awards 2021, which are open to anyone from across East Anglia - including Fenland.

And this week they were presented with their awards by Steven Schooling and his wife Linda, from Wisbech St Mary, who run Linking Hands. The self-supported charity offers a range of free services including bereavement counselling, alcohol and drug rehab, as well as cancer support.

Gary Christy centre, with his wife Nicola who nominated him and Team FACT, with Linda Schooling of Linking Hands, seated, left. (51648238)
Gary Christy centre, with his wife Nicola who nominated him and Team FACT, with Linda Schooling of Linking Hands, seated, left. (51648238)

The Hearts of Gold Awards have been running throughout the year - with monthly winners up to November - and then in December there will be overall winners chosen from the monthly winners.

The monthly winners receive a personalised mug and a plaque to mark their success.

Team FACT and Gary were both nominated by Nicola Christy, who is the co-ordinator of the community hub.

In her nomination Nicola wrote: “I would like to nominate Team FACT who since Covid-19 took effect have successfully run a shop and drop service to the community and since September running this alongside its Dial a Ride service. This has all been possible with thanks to the dedication of staff and volunteers.

“I am very proud to be part of the team offering this service but would like to say a massive thank you to the rest of the Team for all their hard work initially working into the evening to get the orders out and then running the shopping and the transport together.

“We have tried to help the community in whatever way we can. This has included putting knitted hearts in the boxes for Valentine’s Day to try to bring a smile to the people that are alone at home, there are plans for something at Easter too.

“I would also like to say a big thank you to the community who have sent us cards, cakes, sweets, and donations these have been very much appreciated and this has at times kept us going.

“In addition, I would like to nominate the chairman - I know he is my husband but at work he is my boss.

“I nominate Gary Christy, chairman at FACT Community Transport. As Covid-19 took effect, FACT ceased its community transport in March 2020. A decision was made to offer a shop and drop service to the community that were shielding and unable to access an essential shop. To date we have completed over 8,500 shops at our local Tesco.

“Gary has been the chairman for the last two years, most days he will be found working tirelessly unpaid along with other trustees, at times on the less pleasant and thankless side of running such and organisation.

“Gary has given FACT real direction and a solid foundation of ethics that were previously missing.

“Gary has a demanding full-time job that at times he has been doing alongside being chairman, many nights he has sat up with a big spreadsheet working out the figures to enable us to keep going.

“Gary does all this without any fanfare or self-promotion but through having a heart of gold and a real desire to serve without reward. He is a truly positive man who will only ever produce positive results for the benefit of the community.”

To nominate your hero download an entry form from www.linkinghands.org.uk and email scs2011@btinternet.com.

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