Volunteer aged 82 awarded for 20 years of community work in Meden Vale

An 82 year old volunteer has been celebrated for her work running a community charity shop for the past 20 years.

Sheila Shields was nominated for the Nottinghamshire County Council Community Heroes Award for her 20 years of volunteering at Meden Vale charity shop, which she opened in 1999 with her twin sister, Ann.

MrsShields was presented with her award by Councillor Sue Saddington, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council.

MrsShields was presented with her award by Councillor Sue Saddington, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council.

Mrs Shields, who has lived in Meden Vale for 53 years, works in the charity shop on a weekly basis where she helps to price and sell stock and serve customers.

The shop, on Ossington Close, was founded in a bid to restore a sense of community to the village, after the Miners' Welfare was closed.

Mrs Shields says community spirit is alive and well in Meden Vale, despite the loss of such amenities.

She added: "The people that come in and have their cup of tea and a chat say they don't know what they'd do if they didn't have this.

"We've lost the chapel, the doctor's surgery, the old people's centre is to be pulled down, but the community spirit is alive and well here."

Mrs Shield's charity mission began when the former Meden Vale doctors' surgery needed a new ECG machine, and word spread that fundraisers were required.

Sheila and Ann applied to the Coalfield Regeneration Trust for a grant, which they used to buy the shop, and the flat above.

Everything the shop makes stays in the village through Meden Charitable Fund.

Any community group can apply for funding, and much of it goes towards the area's schools, the village's chapel, and local sports teams.

Mrs Shields, along with six other volunteers, also offer patrons a cup of tea and a chat inside the shop, which is attended by villagers of all ages.

The six trustees have meetings to decide where the funding will be spent.

Mrs Shields said: "I don't think we've turned anybody down."

She added: "I think the country is run on volunteers.

"Unfortunately I was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. I'm fine now, but I had to step back for a while.

Mrs Shields is also encouraging the next generation of volunteers, and welcomes youngsters from the area's schools to help out at the shop after school.

Prior to volunteering, Mrs Shields spent much of her life working as a councillor for Mansfield District and Meden Vale Parish Councils.

The community hero initiative she has been recommended for gives people an opportunity to nominate individuals worthy of recognition and praise for their selflessness and charitable acts.

Mrs Shields was presented with her award by Councillor Sue Saddington, chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council.

Coun Saddington said: "The one thing I've noticed in the year I've been chair is how many volunteers there are throughout Nottinghamshire.

"Sheila has done a wonderful job, and is very well deserving of this award."