Volunteer for Aylesbury-based charity receives rare Queen's Jubilee award
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Richard Balkwill, Chair of Trustees at Calibre Audio which operates in Weston Turville was made a Platinum Champion.
Tying in to the celebrations of the Queen's 70th year on the throne, the Platinum Champions Awards were given to outstanding volunteers who made a difference.
Richard, who lives in Haddenham, has volunteered with Calibre Audio for 10 years and the Samaritans for 37 years.
He was one of just 490 volunteers chosen to receive the award from thousands across the country who were nominated for their work with good causes.
Following a successful career working for publishers and as a freelance consultant,
Richard joined Calibre Audio as a trustee in 2012.
He has used his background in publishing to assist the charity in its aim to supply free audiobooks to anyone who struggles to read print.
His role with the Samaritans has involved taking calls and responding to emails from people in need of assistance.
Richard said: “I’ve been lucky to have had a good life and have always felt strongly that I should give something back to help those who are less fortunate.
“Receiving the Platinum Champions Award has been a true affirmation of the value of the charities I have chosen to work with and that makes it even more rewarding.”
Calibre Audio provides for people with visual impairments or blindness, dyslexia, Long Covid, dementia and those with a physical dexterity problem that prevents them from holding a book.
Back in 2012 Calibre Audio was one of just 60 recipients of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Volunteering Award recognising not-for-profit groups.
Calibre Audio volunteers help out in a variety of ways from trustees to voice professionals who narrate many of the books and checkers who ensure the quality of the recordings.
Richard added: “Today Calibre Audio has 17,000 members and we’ve been working hard over the last few years to extend the reach of the charity to even more people who find reading print difficult.
"We know that reading is a vital part of education and personal development and that it helps combat other problems like social isolation, low levels of self-esteem and other mental health disorders.”