PAIGNTON VOLUNTEER ONE OF JUST 500 CHOSEN AS CORONATION CHAMPIONS

Paignton volunteer Maggie Stapleton has been chosen as one of just 500 Coronation Champions in the country.

The chair of the Crafty Fox Café n Hub in Foxhole will receive a signed certificate and a specially designed official Coronation Champion pin from Their Majesties.

Maggie has also been offered two tickets for one of the Coronation events taking place over the weekend of May 6th – 8th, which ironically means she will have to change her plans to help staff a stall in the volunteering marquee on Torre Abbey Meadows in Torquay.

The 65-year-old has been volunteering for more than ten years, starting during a difficult phase of her life. She used to be a rehabilitation nurse at the private brain injury unit, Rose Hill in Torquay, but ill health meant she had to give up earlier than expected.

“It was a bit of a blow, to be honest, I loved my job,” she said, “And it wasn’t helped by the fact that it coincided with the last two of my children leaving home. I need a new purpose.”

Maggie found that purpose when she bumped into the Torbay Community Development Trust’s Kings Ash & Collaton St. Mary Community Builder, Nina Cooper, whilst out walking her dog.

“I knew I needed to do something and Nina invited me to a couple of meetings where the community was working out what to do with an office, shop front in the heart of Foxhole,” she recalled.

“I instantly had a good feel for the place, the people and the project and got right behind it. I haven’t looked back.”

As with so many volunteers, Maggie gets involved in everything from chairing meetings to helping out in the Café n Hub, from providing support and advice to making the tea and cleaning.

“It gave me a sense of purpose. The community had a vision and we have been able to deliver on that. We all know that Foxhole has its problems, but we have been able to make a difference in so many lives. It is nice to be able to give something back,” she said.

News of the award is still sinking in and she is waiting to find out what events she might be able to attend, “I am a Royalist and I will be watching the Coronation from home on the Saturday, but after that, I don’t know. It is very exciting.”

It was Nina that put Maggie’s name forward for the award to the Royal Voluntary Service, which received more than 5,000 nominations: “Maggie is an amazing, generous person. She is always helping people in her neighbourhood too, supporting them in any way she can,” she said.

“There is never a time that she properly switches off; she has been there for many local people, helping them through the ups and downs. A truly caring soul. She so deserves to be a Coronation Champion. I hope she has a wonderful time.”

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