A LEAD volunteer, who lives in Blythe Bridge, and his support group team have been honoured with a national award.
David Fuller, aged 66, and his team at the support group for people affected by macular degeneration in North Staffordshire, have won the 'Chairman's Award for Volunteering' as part of the Macular Society's Awards for Excellence.
This Macular Society local support group was set up nine years ago in Hanley.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the central vision and is the most common cause of sight loss in the UK. There are many other forms of macular degeneration, including juvenile macular dystrophies.
The Macular Society has more than 270 support groups across the UK, providing information, encouragement and friendship to people affected by the condition.
Mr Fuller, who lives in Blythe Bridge, said: "On behalf of my dedicated team of volunteers and helpers at the Macular Society's North Staffs support group, I am immensely honoured that we should have been selected to receive the Chairman's award for volunteering.
"We are just a few of the hundreds of volunteers doing an equally important job for the society around the UK.
"Our self-help group has gone from strength to strength over the past nine years. We now have a core of volunteer speakers, eccentric viewing trainers, telephone befrienders and daily living champions within the membership. Our success is very much a team effort.
"The North Staffs group benefits from the excellent cooperation of the eye unit at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire where we have our own notice boards and a weekly information desk.
"The consultants, nurses and other medical staff have always been most supportive and I regard this award as recognition also of their contribution and encouragement in our community work."
Peter Ford is a member of the local group and nominated Mr Fuller for the award.
He said: "David Fuller works tirelessly for the North Staffs branch of the Macular Society. He organises, takes the leading role, collects people who have travel difficulties, giving his time and ability to make a success of any event."
The team will be presented with their award at the Society's annual London conference on September 28.
The 'Chairman's Award for Volunteering' is one of four honours presented by the charity. There are also awards for 'Clinical Service of the Year', 'Support and Community Rehabilitation Professional of the Year' and 'Optometrist or Optician of the Year.' Helen Jackman, Chief Executive of the Macular Society, said: "David Fuller and the rest of the volunteers at our North Staffordshire group are a real inspiration and have done so well to win this award.
"We are incredibly grateful for their fantastic work carried out in North Staffordshire.
"It's always heartening to hear how people have made such a difference to the lives of others.
There are some really inspiring people working within the sector and volunteering within the local community for people with visual impairments.
"I'm proud that we can honour them in this way."
The Macular Society's group in North Staffordshire meets on the third Tuesday of the month, except in August and December, from 10.30am until 12.30pm at City Central Library, Bethesda Street, in Hanley.
For information, advice or support concerning macular disease or the local group, contact the Macular Society's helpline on 0300 3030 111 or email email@example.com