Volunteer wins prestigious award

A volunteer from Little Havens has been awarded a prestigious award for his outstanding contribution to the local charity.

Ray Baglee, 76, from Rayleigh, volunteers for Little Havens as a Gardening Coordinator and recently received the ‘Order of Mercy’ award from The League Of Mercy Foundation for his outstanding voluntary service.

At the age of 55, Ray retired from his role as a Housing Manager in the London Borough of Newham, where he’d worked for 37 years and took up a part-time position with the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham. After five years in this role, he was looking for something to occupy his time. His sister-in-law, Audrey, was volunteering for the charity at the time, so he decided to join and has continued to volunteer for over 15 years.

Ray attends Little Havens at least twice a week, and his duties include mowing the grass, looking after the Corporate Volunteers, watering the vegetables and plants, organising the jobs for the other volunteers, and liaising with the office.

Ray says, “Although there are the occasional ‘sad times’, most of the time, Little Havens is a very happy place to work and be.

“I can’t do much for the children and families that come to Little Havens, but what I can do, is to make the environment as tranquil and colourful as possible.”

Speaking about the benefits of volunteering, Ray says, “I’ve met lots of close friends through volunteering. Many of our volunteers have formed close friendships and see each other out of our normal gardening days.

“Everyone here is very welcoming and always happy to do something for the children. It’s a really worthwhile cause, so I would recommend volunteering to others.

“As a type one insulin-dependent diabetic for over 40 years, I’m grateful to my colleagues, who often keep an eye on me throughout our working sessions.”

The League of Mercy was founded on the 30th of March 1899 by the Royal Charter of Queen Victoria and was re-founded in 1999 as a UK-registered charity one hundred years after its first establishment. Today the awards are given to those who have given marvellous voluntary service for at least seven years.

Ray received the medal in the presence of Princess Katarina of Yugoslavia and many other distinguished guests.

He says about the award, “I didn’t know I had been nominated, so I was pretty surprised to find out I had won an award. When I realised only up to 30 people are awarded a year throughout the country, I thought, I must be doing something right – I feel very honoured.

“Although I am receiving the award, it reflects on everyone who works here. There’s no ‘I’ in team.”

Little Havens provides specialist care and support for babies, children and young people living with complex or incurable conditions from Essex and the surrounding Boroughs.

Most of the babies, children and young people we care for have conditions that limit their life expectancy, making it even more important for them and their families to make every day of their lives together count.

Volunteering at Havens Hospices is a unique opportunity to support the charity and make every day count for the people it cares for. Find out more at www.havenshospices.org.uk/volunteering

Contact us
Ray Baglee wearing his award, standing in front of a League of Mercy banner