A grandmother who has devoted much of her life to helping others has been rewarded for her Christian spirit and selflessness.
Jean Jackson (76) was awarded the Jimmy Murphy Memorial Trophy – named in honour of a Grangemouth man who went to great lengths to help his community – at Zetland Parish Church on Sunday in a ceremony attended by her family and friends.
Afterwards, she said: “It was an absolutely amazing night. My son, my granddaughter, my brother and his wife were there so I got to share it with them.”
Jean, who now lives in Hanover Grange, was born in Redding but has called Grangemouth her home for 53 years. For the majority of that time she has been helping others and has been a respected elder at Grange Parish Church and then Zetland Parish Church for almost 30 years.
She said: “When you volunteer for the right reasons you get much more out of it than you put into it, believe me. There is a respect from both sides. I’m a Christian so I’m just doing what the Lord tells me to do.”
Jean’s husband Hugh sadly died 17 years ago aged 69 after battling illness for some time, but he was proud of her selfless attitude and willingness to help others which continues to this day.
Jean has worked in the town’s Community Care for over a decade and used to help out at the weekly lunches for elderly people at Talbot House until she had a heart attack five years ago and took that as a sign to slow down a bit.
“The lunches were a bit intense,” said Jean. “I needed to do something where you could get a wee sit down at times and you couldn’t do that at the lunches.”
Jean still gives up her time every fortnight to help out where she can – something she has been doing for her whole adult life.
She started off with the very young, working in playgroups locally including Newlands and the Sports Complex and then moved on to the very old with her work at Community Care.
“I’ve gone from one end of the scale to the other,” she laughed.
Jean also likes to stay busy with her keep fit regime and used to be a member of a local walking group.
She said: “Even if you have only got a small amount of time available, once in a wee while you could make such a difference by spending a couple of hours just sitting with someone and giving them some company.
“There is so much to do in the community and plenty of places people can volunteer. You have organisations like the Scouts which youngsters are keen to join, but can’t because there is not enough volunteers to look after them.”