New chairman is 999 driver

PUBLISHED: 11:30 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:47 17 June 2010

A VOLUNTEER ambulance driver has become the new chairman of Sidmouth Volunteer Service Hilary Hatherleigh takes over from Jane Sutherland-Earl who gave seven years' service to senior and disabled citizens. The formal handover was made at Twyford House in

A VOLUNTEER ambulance driver has become the new chairman of Sidmouth Volunteer ServiceHilary Hatherleigh takes over from Jane Sutherland-Earl who gave seven years' service to senior and disabled citizens.The formal handover was made at Twyford House in Coburg Road on Friday morning. The group operates a transport service and a daily lunch club five days a week at Twyford House. Mrs Sutherland-Earl said: "The main challenge is reaching out to people who are lonely, on their own and can't go out."It is looking for people to see if we can help."The service is advertised but most people get to know about it by word of mouth. Visitors to Twyford House can get tea and coffee with biscuits for 40p or 50p and are encouraged to use the lounge for meeting with friends and chatting. A freshly cooked lunch costs £3.There are scrabble, whist drives, beetle drives and coffee morningsThe lounge was extended last summer and there is a garden with seating and garden room which are both well used.At the core of the transport service are three mini-bus/ambulances taking people with mobility problems to hospital appointments, and a weekly shopping service.There are also many volunteer car drivers willing to take people to opticians, dentists etc for a nominal fee.Mrs Sutherland - Earl said the charity has been fortunate so far with donations and legacies but the new chairman, Mrs Hatherleigh, intends to start more fund raising events and increase the use of the lounge and other facilities.Fund-raising organisations in the town will be asked to run a stall once a week to maximise the use of the facilities.If you or someone you know needs help to get to an appointment call (01395) 512221.The charity has over 100 volunteers but always needs people for occasional driving. If you can help call the same number.

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