Date: 13 August 2021

A father’s dream to see his daughter get married comes true, with thanks to our truly amazing volunteers

When possible, for most parents and carers, seeing their daughter get married is something they would never consider not happening; sadly, for Sarah’s father, Iain, this nearly wasn’t the case.

When Seachange Transport Coordinator Alison received a call to say a local gentleman couldn’t get to his daughter’s wedding at Lympstone Manor due to him needing an accessible vehicle that could fit his motorised wheelchair, she knew saying ‘no’ wasn’t an option.

Iain’s sister Cathy had been unable to find a service to transport him with his motorised wheelchair to the wedding until Judith, a friend, recommended she contact Seachange. With less than a week to go until the big day, Alison promptly checked that the community transport vehicle could fit the wheelchair and arranged to take Iain to a hospital appointment that had been put off for some time. With the first trip a success, she then took to the phone to find a volunteer who could help.

Alison said, “We have a great team of volunteer drivers, so I hoped that providing someone was free on a Friday, we would be able to help Iain. As it happens, two volunteers offered their time, and with that confirmed, Iain could relax about travelling to the wedding and think about enjoying the day.”

On the morning of the wedding, ribbons were attached to the freshly valeted community transport vehicle. Volunteer Graham then collected Iain to ensure he arrived on time, safely and in style at Lympstone Manor. Upon arriving at the Manor, Graham was even invited to join the celebration with the offer of soft drinks and canapes. Following the ceremony and afternoon wedding breakfast, a second volunteer met Iain to take him to party the night away with his newly married daughter, son-in-law, family and friends. When Iain was ready to return home, our volunteer made sure Iain was driven home in style and that he arrived safely at his front door.

Volunteer Graham said, “It’s always a pleasure to drive people to their appointments or classes and groups, but this opportunity was something very different and quite special. I’m pleased I had the chance to drive Iain to Lympstone to see Sarah get married on this beautiful day. It was wonderful being part of this occasion.”

Marc Jobson, Seachange Manager, said, “Our volunteers regularly do amazing things, with many asking to help the same person each week with shopping, telephone befriending and transport. They build up relationships with the people they help and through that become company for each other. This request was something different and one we were delighted our volunteers could help with; they truly went above and beyond to make a dream come true.”

The Queens Award for Voluntary Service winning Devon-based charity Westbank manages and operates Seachange in Budleigh Salterton with all volunteers recruited, inducted, DBS checked and supported through the Volunteer Department.

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Photo: Iain with Sarah, his daughter, at her wedding at Lympstone Manor

Editor’s Notes:          

The Queens Award for Voluntary Service winning charity, Westbank Community Health and Care, was originally set up to provide practical and emotional support to people in villages along the west bank of the River Exe; it now works with communities and individuals across Devon, and in other sites around the UK. 

Westbank worked in close partnership with the NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, The Budleigh Hospital League of Friends, Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Property Services and others to bring the Budleigh Salterton Hub, now named Seachange, into existence. 

Seachange brings together local residents, the NHS, the voluntary, statutory and business sectors under a common purpose - to improve the quality of health and wellbeing for approx 48,500 people in the Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh (WEB) areas, including all the local villages and hamlets.

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