A ‘SELFLESS’ volunteer who has dedicated the last six years to supporting victims of strokes has received royal recognition.
Jackie Sherfield was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list but had to wait several months before a time could be found for her to receive the medal at County Hall in Dorchester surrounded by friends, colleagues and family.
She was recognised for her work since setting up the Dorchester Stroke Social Club in 2007 and was presented with the medal from Lord Lieutenant of Dorset Valerie Pitt-Rivers.
She said: “Everyone who knows Mrs Sherfield will be aware of the tremendous contribution she has made to lives of others through her work for people who suffered a stroke and for their families and friends who support them.
“National honours are highly prized and are only awarded to people whose exceptional example and commitment make an outstanding difference to others. This is what Mrs Sherfield has done selflessly and tirelessly since she founded the Dorchester Stroke Social Club in 2007.”
The citation recognised Mrs Sherfield’s work with the Stroke Social Club since 2007, which included post hospital care, rehabilitation and reintegration into community life, as well as her efforts as vice chairman for Dorset Association for the Disabled.
Mrs Sherfield said: “I think one of the really important things in life is that if you want to do something to help anywhere or anybody you don’t have to look very far.
“I think that volunteers and people who go and find something to do are the backbone of the country.”
Mrs Sherfield said her volunteering efforts began back in the 1960s when she was living in South Africa and got involved with a literacy scheme for black life prisoners.
On another stint in South Africa in the 1990s she was also heavily involved in setting up two nursery schools in townships in Johannesburg.
Her attention turned to support for stroke victims when her husband John suffered a series of strokes.
She was having to attend sessions in Bridport with him because there was no stroke club in Dorchester so she decided to set one up herself.
Mrs Sherfield said: “Somebody said one day would you help set up a stroke club in Dorchester.
“I said yes again and here we are six years down the line with what I think is a brilliant stroke club.”