By Jacob Paul
Two lifelong friends in their 90s have won a national award for their 20-year commitment to the UK’s biggest cancer charity.
Gloria Florzani, 92, from Selsdon, and June Prideaux , 91, from Anerley, met at a youth club in 1944 when they were both16.
They have been volunteering together at a Cancer Research shop near Bromley for the last 20 years.
This landed them Cancer Research UK’s annual Flame of Hope Award in October, which acknowledges remarkable efforts in fundraising and volunteering.
Shop manager, Anne Ashley, who nominated them for the award said: “They are a great double-act. Every shop should have a Gloria and a June”
“Gloria, who works on the till, has a great rapport with customers and fellow volunteers.
“She’s a good listener, keeps them entertained with her stories and has a great sense of humour.”
“June has the sweetest nature and she’s a great multi-tasker. If she’s not on the till, she’s sorting, washing and polishing the homeware.”
“She’s also a mother-figure to some of the younger volunteers, offering sound advice and comforting them in times of trouble.”
The pair have the aches and pains associated with being in their nineties, but not much has kept them away from the shop until the pandemic.
Gloria’s daughter Angela said: “They are chomping at the bit to get back as they love working in the shop and the people they meet there.
They are always laughing and customers, friends and people like the post man sometimes drop in just to see them.”
“Of course, they can’t be at the shop at the moment because of COVID and I think the place lacks a bit of energy without them.”
Gloria and June were named Cancer Research UK Honorary Fellows at an online presentation in celebration of loyalty shown to the cause over many years.
It was in place of a ceremony in London hosted by Cancer Research UK’s chairman, Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, which had to be cancelled because of COVID.
Michelle Mitchell, Cancer Research UK’s chief executive, said: “The Flame of Hope awards give us the opportunity to celebrate and say thank you to our enormously generous volunteers and supporters for their fantastic work.”
The pandemic has caused a significant loss of funding for cancer research.
The UK is expecting a staggering £160 million drop in income in the year ahead.
As a result, the charity has made the difficult decision to cut £44 million in research funding.
Michelle said: “Covid-19 has slowed us down but we will never stop. We are determined to continue our research to create better treatments for tomorrow. Cancer Research UK has continued to work through world wars, recession and other periods of major disruption.”
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for London, said: “It’s thanks to the support of the fundraising public and our amazing army of volunteers that we can continue to make a real difference and bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.”
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