The Order of Mercy Award was given to Roz Harris after 40 years of volunteering at Heathlands Village.
“It has a special place in my heart – I love it here.” The words The Fed volunteer Roz Harris uses to describe her relationship with Heathlands Village.
And the feeling is clearly mutual after Roz was nominated for the Order of Mercy Award by The Fed’s Mark Adlestone OBE DL, CEO Mark Cunningham and former CEO Karen Phillips MBE DL, in recognition of 40 years dedicated voluntary service to Heathlands Village.
Recipients of the award, founded over 100 years ago by Royal Charter of Queen Victoria for ‘voluntary service assisting in the relief of sickness and suffering’, are nominated by charities on behalf of special individuals who have given a minimum of seven years of outstanding voluntary service. Only 27 awards have been granted in 2018.
Roz’s journey with The Fed began in the 1970s, when she volunteered at Heathlands Village “to do whatever was needed – entertaining, singing, and holding parties for residents. I had always wanted to help older people so it was the obvious place to go.”
Eventually becoming Vice-Chair of the welfare committee in the 1990s, Roz was then asked by the late Dr Simon Jenkins, then President of Heathlands Village, to join the fledgling Quality Assurance Committee.
A much-loved and familiar face around The Fed, Roz can be seen almost daily offering a listening ear and a friendly chat to residents, while fixing their make-up and nails. As well as serving on committees and befriending residents, Roz ran the Coffee Lounge at Heathlands Village every Sunday afternoon for many years.
Presented by Lord Lingfield, President of the Order, at Mansion House, the award was accompanied by a citation which stated that, “Mrs Harris is a model for all volunteers, working almost daily to enhance the lives of vulnerable people. She is loved by all who experience her gentle care.”
Apart from her volunteering duties, Roz has a personal connection to Heathlands Village.
“My father lived here for the last 16 years of his life,” she says, “and he simply loved the place. He was so happy here – and that’s the biggest tribute to the staff I can give. Heathlands Village now is an even more amazing place than it was then.
“There are so many people and memories that I cherish from my time at Heathlands, but most of all it makes me proud to think how happy my mum and dad would be to see me receiving this medal from a place they were both so fond of.”