Liz Glenister named Britain's Best Volunteer 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.

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.

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.”

Liz (right) and her nominator, Isabel.

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.

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

Find out more about Liz's remarkable achievements.

How the award works

Step one: Nominate someone you know

We've created a simple eight question form for you to make your nomination - it shouldn't take you more than a few minutes to fill in.

This is your chance to tell us why you feel your nominee deserves to win the title of Britain's Best Volunteer.

Also provided are some pointers on what to include about your nomination, for those in need of some help or inspiration to get going.

Step two: Shortlisting by our judging panel

The experts on our judging panel will review all nominations and decide on the finalists. If your nomination is chosen to be a finalist, we'll get in touch with you to check a few things before speaking to the finalist themselves.

Step three: Vote for Britain's Best Volunteer

After choosing their finalists, the judges will open the public voting phase. The finalist with the most votes will be named winner of Britain's Best Volunteer!

Voting closed on Friday 18th March

Do you run, or are you involved with, a charity?

Markel UK offer specialist insurance policies for small charities, community groups and not-for-profit organisations. Find a wealth of guidance and tips on how to run your charity at

Small Charities Coalition are a national support and networking organisation that helps trustees, staff and volunteers of small charities access the skills, knowledge and resources they need to best serve their causes. Membership is free - find out more at