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Royal recognition for modest Bob

A DEDICATED volunteer worker from Runcorn has been recognised by royalty as a true hero for his tireless work with stroke victims and carers.

A DEDICATED volunteer worker from Runcorn has been recognised by royalty as a true hero for his tireless work with stroke victims and carers.

Bob Bryant formed the Halton Let's Go stroke club after suffering four strokes in a year, confining him to a wheelchair. Determined not to let this get the better of him, Bob set up the group for sufferers like himself.

Now the 180 members benefit from companionship, day trips, visits by artists and other interesting guests and even holidays. Less than five years on, Let's Go is the biggest stroke club in the UK.

And his hard work has not gone unnoticed. Bob has just won the Whitbread Volunteer Action awards in the North West, and was presented with his award at a national ceremony in London attended by Princess Michael of Kent.

But modest Bob, 54, had never thought he would stand a chance of winning.

'The first I heard of it was when they wrote me a letter telling me I was nominated. I thought 'well, there's thousands of people nominated, I don't stand a chance really.' But then they told me I was shortlisted. I looked on the Internet to see the shortlist, and there was still lots of names on it, so I wasn't getting my hopes up.'

But judges felt that the work Bob had been doing for stroke victims


Halton was worthy of top honours, and the prize made a hat-trick

for Bob,

who earlier this year received a Life After Stroke award, and had


picked up Team of the Year award for Let's Go in the Weekly News's



The ceremony coincided with the International Day of Volunteers and


the hard work of companies, organisations or individuals like Bob,

who make

a positive and enduring difference to society through voluntary activity


by suporting voluntary activity.

Bob said his visit to London and the ceremony was 'fantastic', and


how Princess Michael of Kent fetched herself a chair so she could

sit next

to Bob as she presented his award.

The Princess said of the awards: 'The winners of the Whitbread Volunteer

Action Awards have been even more impressive in this special year,

UN Year

of Volunteers.

'All have shown overwhelming drive, commitment and generosity of

spirit, and

in doing so they create valuable role models and inspire others to



Bob's prize was a trophy and commemorative certificate, and a cheque


£1,000. Half the prize money was to go towards the Let's Go club,

while Bob

could keep the other £500. Typically though, he chose to give the

money to a

good cause ­ Liverpool Stroke Art Group.

Hard working Bob said his winning philosophy is simply 'Don't let

it get you

down, don't take no for an answer.'

He said: 'What makes it all worthwhile for me is that I know I have


make some people happy. That's all that matters.'


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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