Woolsery royal news tinged with sadness

CELEBRATIONS over the announcement yesterday (Tuesday) that Woolsery volunteers had won a royal award were tempered by the death of one of their number. Woolsery Sports and Community Hall was named as a winner of the Queen s Award for Voluntary Service -

CELEBRATIONS over the announcement yesterday (Tuesday) that Woolsery volunteers had won a royal award were tempered by the death of one of their number.

Woolsery Sports and Community Hall was named as a winner of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service - two days after Stuart Rickard, chairman of the hall committee, died of kidney cancer.

Mr Rickard, aged 62, was twice refused the drug Sunitinib on the NHS and a fund was started to help pay for it privately.

Then two weeks ago Devon Primary Care Trust said he could have the drug on the NHS after all. But his condition deteriorated and he died in North Devon Hospice on Sunday.


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Brian Butler, president of the hall committee, said Mr Rickard's death had left a big gap in village life.

"He was involved in the hall project from day one and was the driving force during the initial stages," he said.

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"Stuart did know about the honour before he died and had been looking forward to receiving the award from the Lord Lieutenant of Devon at the hall.

"Winning the award is a tremendous achievement for all the volunteers who helped get the hall built and the whole village should be very proud. But Stuart's death has left us all feeling very sad."

Mr Rickard's widow, Margaret, told the Gazette: "When he was told about the award, his face lit up. He was so thrilled for the village."

The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is a unique UK honour for voluntary groups, equivalent to an MBE.

The announcement of Woolsery's success came yesterday (Tuesday) on the anniversary of the Queen's coronation.

Members of the hall committee will be invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace and the Lord Lieutenant of Devon, Eric Dancer, will present an inscribed commemorative crystal and certificate at the environmentally friendly hall at a later date.

n Mr Rickard's funeral will take place at Woolsery Parish Church at 2pm on Monday, June 15.

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