Thought for the Week (02/05/2013)
Thank you, volunteers of Dudley
Dudley is blessed with some amazing and fantastic people.
From Sedgeley to Stourbridge and from Wren's Nest to Wordsley, our Borough is home to men and women who care deeply for the community around them. Many devote hours every week to voluntary work; a good number of them have been doing so for twenty or thirty years.
A few days ago I was privileged to take part in the Annual Civic Awards ceremony in Dudley Town Hall and to announce the winner of the Frank Foley award for Community Service.
I've been on the judging panel for the Awards since they first began a decade back. Every year the number of nominations increases and the standards get higher.
In the immediate aftermath of the last General Election this sort of work was being championed by government under the headline "Big Society". The political bandwagon has moved on, it always does, but the work of voluntary organisations and their volunteers never relied on political rhetoric, and it goes on regardless.
MI6 agent Frank Foley, the Dudley man after whom the Community Service Award is named, forged passports which enabled Jews to escape to Britain from Nazi persecution. In doing so he paved the way for the community that has grown up in the 70 years since.
The people who win the awards reflect the rich diversity that is Dudley today. And whilst this shows that voluntary service is not restricted to any particular age, religion, background or class, it's plain to see that the faith values by which the winners live play a major part in both motivating and sustaining them.
So join me today in bring grateful for the community we live in, and especially for the many who quietly get on with making it a better place. And if you are one of those thousands of Dudley volunteers, thank you! Thank you very, very much.
Rt Revd David Walker
Bishop of Dudley