Hormone Disorder Charity Founder Wins Britain’s Best Volunteer Award 2016
Liz Glenister, volunteer and founder of Hypopara UK from East Grinstead in West Sussex, has been announced as the winner of Britain’s Best Volunteer award 2016.
The award, a partnership between Markel UK, the specialist charity insurer and Small Charities Coalition, the support organisation for small charities, recognises those who volunteer their time to help small charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations.
Liz faced stiff competition from hundreds of nominations for volunteers across Britain and reached the final alongside four other remarkable charity workers by award judges Judith Miller, Trustee of Small Charities Coalition, Andy Partington, Director of Markel UK and Vicky Browning, Director of CharityComms.
Liz was named the winner following a close public vote and was presented with a cheque for £1,250 for Hypopara UK, as well as £1,000 in holiday vouchers for her own personal use.
Liz, 61, founded Hypopara UK in July 2005 after her experience of living with undiagnosed brittle hypoparathyroidism following surgery for thyroid cancer in 1992. She was inspired to do something after finding there was little information about hypoparathyroidism (a condition where a diminished concentration of parathyroid hormone causes deficiencies in calcium and phosphorus, leading to muscular spasms and kidney problems) available to those diagnosed with the condition.
After receiving a £300 start-up loan from the Hypopara Association in the US, she grew the online forum to 200 members in a short space of time and started building a team of highly regarded specialists.
Since then, Liz has produced numerous information leaflets for health organisations, set up two telephone helplines for sufferers, assisted other hypopara charities around the world (most recently in Australia) and contributed to the BTA Thyroid Cancer guidelines, all whilst raising a family and managing her own hypoparathyroidism condition.
On finding out she had won the Britain’s Best Volunteer award, Liz said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to have won this award which I see as a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness about the rare condition, hypoparathyroidism, and our small but far reaching charity, Hypopara UK.
“We are raising funds for vital stem cell research at the moment so this prize will really help. Thank you to everyone who voted, to my committee who nominated me and well done to all the finalists who all work so hard and represent such worthy causes.”
The four runner-up finalists, who each receive £250 for a charity of their choice and a personal prize of an Apple Watch, are:
- Gary Clark, Volunteer, Swallowfield Community First Responders
- Lucy Lucy, Volunteer and founder, Destitute Asylum Seekers Huddersfield (DASH)
- Andrew Smith, Volunteer and founder, Hull Homeless Community Project
- Tracey Staples, Volunteer Chair, Hermione Social Club
Judith Miller, Trustee of Small Charities Coalition, commented: ‘Liz has shown relentless commitment and overcome her own personal challenges to raise awareness of hypoparathyroidism. Her team’s work has provided invaluable support to the newly-diagnosed as well as those already living with the condition.’
Andy Partington, Director of Markel UK added: ‘It’s fantastic to see the award enable small charities nationwide to celebrate their volunteers’ contributions to the community and raise awareness of so many causes. The finalists in this year’s award were all exceptional volunteers and it is testament to Liz’s incredible accomplishments that she has been named Britain’s Best Volunteer 2016.’
To find out more about Liz’s achievements, Hypopara UK and the runner-up finalists, visit https://www.markeluk.com/britains-best-volunteer/finalists/.