Pen­sioner Bil­ley recog­nised for 30 years’ vol­un­teer­ing

The Oban Times - - News - MON­ICA GIBSON mgib­son@oban­

A PEN­SIONER who has sup­ported a Lochaber char­ity shop for nearly 30 years be­lieves vol­un­teer­ing could be key to stay­ing young.

Bil­ley Den­ney, from Up­per Ach­in­tore, re­cently re­ceived the Flame of Hope award for his vol­un­teer­ing ser­vices to the Can­cer Re­search shop in Fort Wil­liam.

The 82-year- old trav­elled to Lon­don to re­ceive his award. While he was taken aback by the hus­tle and bus­tle of the big city, Mr Den­ney was most im­pressed by his fel­low re­cip­i­ents.

He said: ‘ We trav­elled by train and ev­ery­thing went smoothly with the jour­ney un­til we got to the un­der­ground. There were thou­sands and thou­sands of peo­ple there – I couldn’t believe how busy it was. But the award cer­e­mony was spe­cial. We had a lovely lunch and there was a young man in his 20s who had raised £100,000 which is re­ally im­pres­sive. I wasn’t the old­est ei­ther. One lady be­ing pre­sented was 97 and she still works on the till in a shop. An­other was 91. It goes to show, keep­ing ac­tive can help you live longer.’

Since 2003, Can­cer Re­search has pre­sented more than 700 Flame of Hope awards to thank those who give their time and en­ergy to help beat can­cer sooner. Over the years Bil­ley has helped the Fort Wil­liam shop raise around £24,000 for the char­ity and he doesn’t plan on giv­ing up any time soon.

Mr Den­ney added: ‘ A lot of the vol­un­teers at the shop have lost peo­ple and that re­ally is what keeps us all go­ing. I will be do­ing a cou­ple of shifts a week for the fore­see­able fu- ture – we might not get paid as such but I en­joy it, es­pe­cially meet­ing all the lo­cals.’

Orig­i­nally from Belfast, Bil­ley moved to Scot­land 47 years ago af­ter meet­ing his would be wife, whom he mar­ried a year later and the cou­ple have spent most of their time since then in Lochaber.

Mr Den­ney worked in the pulp mill in Cor­pach and af­ter be­ing made re­dun­dant it was his wife who en­cour­aged him to vol­un­teer.

Mr Den­ney said: ‘We heard they were look­ing for peo­ple and the Mrs said to me – you’ve al­ways talked about vol­un­teer­ing and now is your chance. And re­ally I have never looked back.’

Mr and Mrs Den­ney have one son, Ewen, who now lives in San Jose. The cou­ple have vis­ited Ewen and his fam­ily 14 times so far and per­haps will again in the fu­ture as Mr Den­ney says – ‘life is for liv­ing’.

Pho­to­graph by An­thony MacMil­lan Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Mr Den­ney re­ceived a Flame of Hope award for his ser­vices to Can­cer Re­search.

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