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Lily's a real diamond

lily yeo

A hard-working Merlin Housing Society resident has been named one of the region’s diamond volunteers.
 
Eighty-six-year-old Lily Yeo was named as one of the 60 Diamond Champions of the South and South West of England region, who were selected for their outstanding volunteer work. She was nominated for her tireless volunteering work for Oxfam, Thornbury Hospital and St Peter’s Hospice.
 
Over the years she has raised thousands of pounds for them, and helps out behind the till every week at the Oxfam shop in Thornbury High Street. At the moment she is also knitting little Christmas puddings, into which she puts some Cadbury’s chocolate, before selling them to raise money for the hospice.
 
Lily was chosen out of more than 620 people from the south and south west region to be one of the Diamond Champions, and was the only one from South Gloucestershire, to attend the awards ceremony at the Marriott Hotel at the end of October.
 
“It was a wonderful feeling,” said Lily, who lives at Merlin’s Quaker Court supported housing scheme in Thornbury. “I can’t really describe it. I just wish that my daughter was alive to see it as she would have been so proud.
 
“Twenty-five years ago my husband needed oxygen to help him breathe and so I started to raise money to buy a nebulizer for local people to use and raised £1,500.
 
“I volunteered at the hospital for eight years but I can’t do that any more. So each week I buy something from the Oxfam shop, and save them up and run a tombola at the hospital to raise money for them. I also knit little chickens at Easter for St Peter’s Hospice and knit things like socks and hats and scarves to go overseas.”
 
Lily received a certificate signed by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall and a specially designed Diamond Champions pin. But she was not among the top ten volunteers who were invited to a special event at St James’s Palace at the end of November.

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