Points of Light award for local charity worker
"I thought it was a joke!" quoted Candida Wright, as she received the ‘Points of Light’ award from the British Prime Minister. The award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community, and Candida has certainly achieved this, spending her adult life dedicated to local charity work in Spain.
Simon Manley, the British Ambassador, broke the fantastic news to Candida by telephone, but as she didn’t recognise the number, she thought it was somebody playing a joke on her. Only when she received official emails, the news finally sunk in.
First established by President George W. Bush in 1990, over 5,000 US Points of Light have been recognised in the USA. The UK Points of Light was developed in partnership with the US programme and launched at 10 Downing Street in April 2014. Since then hundreds of people have been named Points of Light by the Prime Minister, highlighting an enormous array of innovative and inspirational volunteering across the length and breadth of the UK.
Doing everything from tackling knife crime, to supporting families of dementia patients, the UK Points of Light are fundraising, awareness raising, problem solving heroes who all had an idea they decided to make a reality. Their actions have changed lives and their stories are can inspire thousands more to get involved or start their own initiatives.
Candida has achieved far and above any of the Points of Light achievers by being awarded this accolade in Spain. "I’m quite emotional, I can’t believe it. But it’s also nice for the people that work with me", she humbly quoted.
Most notably she has volunteered with ‘ Help of Denia & Marina Alta’ for 30 years, acting as an interpreter at Denia hospital, and, crucially, playing an instrumental role in developing the charity from a hospital visiting service to a formidable organisation operating several charity shops, funding respite care and running a number of support groups.
Candy, as she is locally known, has also helped set up a women’s shelter, is involved in a care centre for minors in Denia, volunteers in a homeless shelter in Gandia, leads the amateur dramatics group ‘Careline Theatre' which raises funds for local health centres, and hosts a regular spot on a local English lan- guage radio station.
In a personal letter to Candy, Prime Minister, Theresa May said:
"You have dedicated an extraordinary amount of time to local charity work in Spain. In particular, your work with ‘HELP’ has been instrumental in supporting the charity to grow and extend its services to even more people in need. Across the world British volunteers like you are helping to build a better world for everyone. The Point of Light award is a small thank you on behalf of the whole country, in recognition of your exceptional service."
Candy said: "I feel very moved to have received this award. Devoting time to others is important to me, as it is very fulfilling. I hope to be able to work as a volunteer for a long time, with the valuable support of my family and friends."
British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, said "Wherever I go in Spain, I am impressed by the way in which our hundreds of thousands of British expats here so willingly give up their time to help others. They are an invaluable partner for us, and there is no finer example of that volunteering spirit than Candy Wright."
Candy Wright (c) visiting a patient in hospital