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Housing Day – Doris’ story

18 September 2017

For Sanctuary Housing resident Doris Proctor, volunteering has been a key part of life for over 70 years.

Doris, from Shiregreen, began volunteering aged 11, during World War II, with the Red Cross - starting out on a journey that would see her help countless people and even receive royal recognition for her efforts from Her Majesty the Queen.

Alongside working and raising a family, Doris has also incorporated her volunteering into her hobbies. From the age of 14, Doris volunteered for Sheffield United Harriers Athletic Club and she still runs the art group she established over 10 years ago.

At the age of 84, Doris has recently retired from volunteering as an advice worker at Firth Park Advice Centre – where she offered guidance and support to the local community for almost 30 years.

But she remains an integral member of her local church, St James and St Christopher, in Shiregreen.

Doris has volunteered there for over 30 years and held countless roles, and it was that selfless and dedicated service that led to a royal opportunity.

In 2015, leaders at the church nominated Doris to receive Maundy Money from the Queen. This traditional ceremony dates from 1210 and is when the monarch gives ‘alms’ to pensioners for their notable service and dedication.

Doris recalls: “It was very surreal to meet the Queen – I had no idea what to expect and it was over before I knew it.

“I will remember it forever though – it was a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I feel so proud. It’s nice to know that even though you don’t look for recognition, people recognise the work that you have done.”

Doris is sharing her story as part of national Housing Day under the theme ‘Real People, True Stories’. Her advice to anyone else thinking of rolling up their sleeves and volunteering is to “just get on with it.”

She added: “There are lots of things that money can’t compensate you for. You should think about helping people.

“It’s a wonderful feeling when you have helped someone and they walk away with something positive in their life because of you. It makes it all worthwhile.”