British Heart Foundation volunteer from Norwich wins national award

He is a devoted volunteer who for nearly two decades has helped out in a Norwich charity shop.

And now the British Heart Foundation has honoured John Palmer's impressive 18 years of service by naming him the charity's national retail volunteer of the year.

Mr Palmer, 72 and who works in the charity's London Street shop, was presented with his award by the Prime Minister's wife Samantha Cameron at an event in London on Tuesday.

Mr Palmer, of Albermarle Road, off Newmarket Road, said it was a great honour to be invited to Downing Street.

He said: 'I am delighted to have been given such a prestigious title as there are so many worthy volunteers who give their time to the British Heart Foundation. It has been rewarding work and I have enjoyed the last 18 years.

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'I have made some wonderful friends and have so many lovely memories.'

Mr Palmer, who has undergone a heart bypass, a hip replacement and has diabetes, spends many hours each week at the BHF's Norwich and Great Yarmouth shops. He is known as 'Steaming John' because of his great skills at steaming clothes ready for sale – and when new stores open in the region he is given the job of making sure the clothes look immaculate. As well as working in the sort the sort room Mr Palmer, who has four children and five grandchildren, is involved all of BHF's fundraising campaigns and is a huge asset to the foundation, particularly the Norwich shop.

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Debbie Gill, Norwich BHF shop manager, said: 'I am delighted that we can recognise John's commitment to the BHF. John is very dedicated to making things happen. John definitely always goes the extra mile.'

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