Diamond volunteer Tony Bradwell is in line for award honour
AN AWARD-WINNING volunteer is in line to be a Diamond Champion.
Tony Bradwell, 74 – who won the Grimsby Telegraph Volunteer Of The Year award for sport and recreation in January – has dedicated his life to the members of Foresight, where he has been a friend, a guide and a role model.
The Diamond Champion honour has been created by the WRVS in the UK to find the nation's biggest giver, and to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Tony, who carried the Olympic Torch when it passed through Immingham, has been a widower for 11 years after his wife, Lilian, died from breast cancer.
He said his reward for all his time given freely to Foresight is respect.
"Here, after all the years, I have got the two things I want in life. They are acceptance and respect," he said.
Each day he helps members like Gary Buffy, who is paralysed from the waist down.
Tony takes members out on tricycles specially designed to carry disabled people.
He organises day trips and regular outings to a shooting school at Tetney, an archery school at Caistor and fishing at Immingham's Homestead lake.
Tony said: "Foresight is my second home.
"It is a pleasure to help people like Gary. He gets 100 per cent attention. He is a diamond and is happy in his world.
"No one goes past him without speaking. He is accepted by everyone and he accepts us."
Tony began his voluntary career as a driver at The British Legion.
The former member of the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment and The King's Own Yorkshire Regiment took legion members on day trips and to and from their club.
Tony said: "I don't drink, so I would take them. Then I was asked if I would start driving for members of Foresight and it has just got better and better every day.
"I have always been active. I would sooner give than take. I have achieved things that I never thought I would."
Tony was presented to Princess Anne when she came to open the new Foresight venue, in Newmarket Street, Grimsby, in 2008.
He said it was an honour to be nominated for the Diamond award. His name was put forward by operations manager at Foresight, Sue Bell.
She said: "Tony is one of the nicest men to walk on God's earth. The award is justly deserved. He is the father to us all at Foresight.
"He is the dad everyone wished they had. He comes in every day and offers to help in whatever way he can."
Following a regional selection process, Tony will have the chance to meet the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall later in the autumn when the national final selection will be made – keep checking your Grimsby Telegraph for updates.
There are 12 pages of Olyimpic Torch Relay coverage towards the centre of today's paper.