NI’s leading Samaritan volunteer has been named a ‘Point of Light’ by Prime Minister Theresa May.
Dorothy Cooper, 88, escaped Hitler’s regime to make a new home in Belfast and has dedicated 40 years of her life to local people in need of a listening ear.
She’s taken more than 6,000 calls, trained 1,600 new staff members and raised over £20,000 for her Belfast branch.
In recognition of her achievements, she is the latest recipient of a Point of Light award, which honours outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
Dorothy said: “I’m shocked to be recognised with this award because I love what I do. Being part of the Samaritans enables me to help others, be among the people and ultimately makes me feel alive.”
In a personal letter to Dorothy, Mrs May said: “Over the past 40 years you have provided comfort to so many callers to the Belfast Samaritans. Despite experiencing the trauma of being forced to flee your own country, you have dedicated thousands of hours to supporting others in their time of need.”
Dorothy is the 586th winner of the Points of Light award which has been developed in partnership with the hugely successful Points of Light programme in the USA and was first established by President George H W Bush. Over 5,000 US Points of Light have been awarded and both President Bush and President Barack Obama have publicly supported the partnership with Points of Light UK which honours shining examples of volunteering across the country.
Robert Bell, director of Belfast Samaritans said: ”Dorothy is a genuine inspiration to our volunteers. This is not just for her dedication to helping those who come to us at times of great distress in their lives. She also shows in so many very practical and creative ways the importance of everyone rolling up their sleeves and doing the many necessary things in the background that keep a complex and dynamic organisation ticking over every day.”
The Points of Light awards recognise outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.