97 year-old man becomes runner-up For Britain’s Best Volunteer Award

Posted on: 15 May 2014 by 50connect editorial

'Outstanding example' John Shannon gives up time to assist Carers’ Time Off scheme.

LonelinessInsurance company Markel UK joined forces with the Small Charities Coalition to search for hero volunteers across the country. Community groups, non-profit organisations and small charities were invited to nominate people for a chance to win Britain’s Best Volunteer.

One of those nominated was 97-year-old John Shannon, who became one of the runner-up finalists for Britain’s Best Volunteer. Mr Shannon’s remarkable story illustrates that you are never too old to make a difference.

John Shannon’s story

Described in an article in the Yorkshire Evening Post as an ‘outstanding example of a selfless volunteer’, it would be difficult to argue considering that he has been doing volunteer work for various charities for 80 years. Mr Shannon has also been previously recognised in the Diamond Champions Awards run by the Royal Voluntary Service. He started volunteering for the League of Nations as a 17-year-old.

For the last six years, Mr Shannon has been working with Carers’ Time Off which had allowed him to have an occasional break from caring for his wife, Ellen, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The charity provides volunteers to help full-time carers by sitting with the person that they care for between two and four hours per week. When his wife sadly died in 2008, Mr Shannon wished to give a little back to the organisation that had helped him and now works with the Harrogate Living Project’s Carers’ Time Off scheme to provide support for six carers. Currently Mr Shannon helps the charity for an hour a week, despite his advancing years.

Loneliness affects us all

Part of what makes Mr Shannon’s story so inspirational is such selflessness exists in a world in which there appears to be what the Yorkshire Evening Post refers to as an ‘unnoticed epidemic’ of loneliness that particularly affects older people. Even in old age, Mr Shannon has dedicated himself to helping others, saying that after he was helped with care for his wife, that he ‘wanted to pay back a bit’ and to ‘make a positive change’.

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