Dedicated Brighton volunteer is given special award by Olympian James Cracknell
A Brighton woman who has dedicated much of her life’s work to helping others has been presented with a special award.
Gillian Richards, 58, from Kemptown, has been named as the runner-up for a brain injury association’s Volunteer of the Year award which was presented to her by double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell OBE who himself suffered a brain injury after a cycling accident.
Gill was among three finalists shortlisted for the title at the national brain injury awards ceremony organised by Headway, the brain injury association, held at the InterContinental London Park Lane, Mayfair on Friday, December 6.
“It’s a real honour to be recognised for the work we’ve all done within and beyond the community of people affected by acquired brain injury in East Sussex,” Gillian said.
“I’ve spent a lot of my life caring for and supporting those with an acquired brain injury and I wanted to use my knowledge and experience professionally to help others going through the challenges they faced.”
In 2009, Gill started training as a counsellor and started volunteering for Headway East Sussex in 2011 where she worked with survivors and their loved ones as part of her placement.
After qualifying as a professional counsellor in 2012, she continued to volunteer for the charity to help clients and carers on a one to one and group basis.
Michele Fleming, a trustee at Headway, nominated Gill for the award.
She said: “Gill has helped so many people at Headway East Sussex, not only within her professional capacity, but through her kind, understanding and generous nature.
“She’s made such a positive impact on so many people’s lives and I know that her dedication is valued and appreciated by us all.”
Gill has a personal connection with Headway as her mother and grandmother both suffered strokes.
She herself lives with post-concussion syndrome which causes severe balance and coordination problems, limited mobility, visual processing difficulties, and chronic fatigue.
Find out more about the work of Headway at its website.