The Sunderland Branch of national charity The British Polio Fellowship celebrated 60 years of service to those living with Polio in Wearside on Wednesday 19 August. The event at the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens saw individual awards handed out by a special VIP guest to three people who have made special contributions both to the Branch and to a unique exhibition of Polio memorabilia on display.
Hosted by Shirley Williams, Sunderland Branch Chairperson and project team leader on the Polio History exhibition and display at the Winter Gardens, the event was attended by The British Polio Fellowship’s CEO Ted Hill MBE, who presented awards to Keith Whickham, Stephen Torgersen and Beth Waldron, who all provided their time, effort and hard work to the Sunderland Branch in different ways.
“The outstanding individual contributions these three people have made to our Sunderland Branch deserved recognition on the 60th Anniversary of the Branch,” said CEO of The British Polio Fellowship, Ted Hill MBE. “I can’t emphasise enough how grateful myself and the rest of The British Polio Fellowship are for all the valuable and brilliant work they’ve done. It was a pleasure to be finally able to see for myself.”
Keith Whickham has been a British Polio Fellowship Sunderland Branch member since 1955 and is a Polio survivor. Keith is the Director of Gate 7 in Gateshead, the printing firm that printed free of charge all the photographic memorabilia boards for the display at the event.
Stephen Torgersen is a partner in Torgersen Accountants, who carried out the pro-bono book-keeping work for the Sunderland Branch. Stephen’s late father, Paul, was on the committee of the Sunderland Branch as Treasurer, until he passed away and Paul’s great work has been carried on by his son Stephen.
Beth Waldron is a volunteer with the Sunderland Branch for the last ten years and is a Sunderland University undergraduate of Photography, Journalism and Fashion. Beth carried out the filming and production of a DVD telling Sunderland’s Polio stories, on display at the exhibition. Beth carried out this project free of charge to help The British Polio Fellowship as part of her studies.
In addition to handing out awards to Keith, Stephen and Beth, Ted toured the exhibition of Polio memorabilia that the Museum houses and met Branch leaders and members in attendance.
“It’s days like this that remind all of us of the great work that The British Polio Fellowship does up and down the country,” concluded Ted. “I’d like to personally thank Keith, Stephen and Beth for all their work as well Shirley Williams and everyone else connected to the Sunderland Branch.”