Duchess honours hard-working Mary

The Duchess of Northumberland visits Pegswood. Mary Henderson is presented with her certificate.
The Duchess of Northumberland visits Pegswood. Mary Henderson is presented with her certificate.

A HARD-WORKING volunteer has been rewarded for her tireless service to the community after 20 years at the heart of her village.

Mary Henderson has been a volunteer at Pegswood Community Project since it began in a small colliery row house in 1991 and she started a quilting group.

The facility moved into its present base in Longhirst Road about 10 years ago, but Mrs Henderson remained ever present.

And during her long service as Chairman she has seen the project expand its work to offer activities that the whole community can enjoy, from parent and toddler groups to homework clubs and computer courses to over 50s keep fit.

Now she has been presented with a Meritorious Service Award from Pegswood Parish Council in recognition of her efforts.

“I feel very overwhelmed really,” she said. “This was totally unexpected and I feel very privileged.”

The 78-year-old, who was born in the village, used to attend the centre every day to make sure everything was in order, but now she is taking it a little easier — only calling in every other day.

She is responsible for chairing meetings of the trustees, organising events and parties and making sure user groups have everything they need.

And she is still a member of the quilting group.

“I get a lot of pleasure out of the place,” she said.

“I was born in the village so I know most of the people anyway, but through the project I know their grandchildren and great grandchildren now. It’s just a pity we don’t get as many older people in, but we do get a lot of kids in and the children’s groups are very popular.”

Mrs Henderson is keen to carry on her work, and certainly has no intention of giving up her post.

“I’ll be here until they carry me out,” she said.

“Once in the chair you never get out.”

The volunteer was presented with her award by the Duchess of Northumberland on Tuesday.