Sterling work by local women is recognised during Volunteer Week

Ballyclare Action Cancer shop volunteer Rhoda Nesbitt (left) from Newtownabbey, pictured with fellow volunteer Roberta McCullough, also from Newtownabbey.
Ballyclare Action Cancer shop volunteer Rhoda Nesbitt (left) from Newtownabbey, pictured with fellow volunteer Roberta McCullough, also from Newtownabbey.

DURING Volunteer Week which runs from June 1 to 7, the Times has learned of the work of valued cancer charity volunteers - Special Olympian Rhoda Nesbitt from Newtownabbey, and Rosemary Basher, a retired teacher who hails from Ballyclare.

“Rhoda lives in Newtownabbey and has volunteered in her local Action Cancer shop for over three-and-a half years now,” said Elmay Tweed, the store manager of Action Cancer’s Ballyclare shop

Rosemary Basher.

Rosemary Basher.

“Rhoda comes in every Wednesday and Friday for approximately 10 hours providing a great welcome to our customers and works diligently to keep the shop tidy and well presented.

“As well as her commitment to our shop, Rhoda has worked extremely hard and been very successful in her other passion, Rhythmic Gymnastics. Rhoda started gymnastics at age 10 and has accumulated a number of medals to date, including gold, silver and bronze medals at the World Special Olympics held at Dublin in 2003.

“Rhoda is such a joy to work with and is a volunteer that our customers love to come in and chat with. The 2012 Volunteer Week’s theme is our ‘local heroes’ and never has this phrase rang so true. Not only is Rhoda an Olympic hero but to us she’s also an Action Cancer hero. Thank you Rhoda for all your help!”

Rhoda added: “I like working in the Action Shop because I like talking to the customers and I get to know their names. I tidy up the clothes in my shop and put them in the right place in their sizes. I also price the videos, CDs, DVDs and books, and count up how many bags come in each day. I know my shop raises money for people that have cancer and I think it is a good idea to raise lots of money for this. I really love my job.”

Rosemary Basher, a retired teacher who lives in Ballyclare, (pictured inset), revealed that she “thoroughly enjoyed” her volunteering work.

“I have been volunteering with Action Cancer for four years now and divide my time between the Special Clinics at Action Cancer House and at my local Action Cancer shop in Ballyclare,” said Rosemary.

“Before I retired I made a firm decision to volunteer my time. I love people and it’s something I’ve always done. A good friend of mine died from breast cancer and my father died from liver cancer, so like most, my life has also been touched by this disease. The work that Action Cancer does, the combination of all its parts, in my eyes really makes it a worthy cause to volunteer your time to.

“Initially my work at Action Cancer House was based in the clinic waiting room making tea for ladies with screening appointments, providing informal conversation to help calm any nerves or helping women who needed assistance to fill out their forms.

“When the Special Clinics were introduced - a clinic for women who have difficulty accessing breast screening services including women with disabilities and of ethnic minorities - I was approached to see if I would like to assist. With my background in teaching and in music therapy I had experience working with adults with severe learning difficulties. I felt it was a perfect role for me and utilised some of the skills I had developed over my working life. I thoroughly enjoy my volunteering work here.

Read the full story in this week’s Times...