Neville and Jean Jessop have been volunteering for the last 20 years for the Heart and Sole Walking Scheme in Chelmsford. This scheme has grown from just one walk to over 20 different walks across Chelmsford and the surrounding areas, with over 500 members and over 9000 attendances every year.
Neville and Jean not only volunteered as walk leaders but have been instrumental assets to the organisation through their roles on the committee. Over the years Neville has been the Treasurer, Secretary and Chairman, playing a key part in the successes of the Heart and Sole Walking scheme. Jean has enjoyed her role as the events organiser, delivering many fundraisers ensuring the project was able to continue, despite funding being lost. Through quizzes, raffles and afternoon picnics, she has been able to raise in excess of £1000. Neville and Jean were always at the Summer Solstice and Yuletide Stride where they walked and helped raise money for many other charities such as Essex and Herts Air Ambulance, Diabetes UK and Mind, raising around £500 per year across these events. Their dedication to go above and beyond for others is tremendous.
Neville then qualified as a walk trainer for Heart and Sole to help other volunteers be walk leaders. They have undertaken these tasks selflessly over the last 20 years and the scheme would not have been able to run so successfully without them.
Karen Frett, an individual who worked alongside Neville and Jean said: “During my time as Walks Coordinator, Neville and Jean were a pleasure to work with and it was evident that they are truly the ‘heart and soul’ the walking scheme. They have been involved in all aspects of the scheme from the very beginning, helping to set-up and organise the scheme, and leading many of the walks. They both regularly went the extra mile to ensure walkers felt welcome, including running a tea club at the Beaulieu walk and organising additional day trips in their own time. They are truly an inspiration and have certainly encouraged me to consider how I might be able to make a difference when I retire from full time work in years to come!”
Neville has only just hung up his volunteering boots at 93 years of age which is remarkable. The couple show how important individuals like this are to their communities and that no matter your age, you can still find something to keep you moving. The One in a Million award gives them the recognition they deserve to acknowledge all of their hard work over the years.