A CHARITY’S 400-strong volunteer workforce were the focus of an annual celebration at Ayr Racecourse.

Hundreds of readers of the Chronicle and our sister papers voted in the Ayrshire Cancer Support awards which had four categories.

The Cheering Volunteering event was designed as a thank you by the 36-year-old charity to its army of dedicated volunteers.

They provide free patient transport to hospital appointments, raise funds, run 10 charity shops throughout the region, and help with behind-the-scenes work at its centres in Ayr and Kilmarnock.

Willie Smith won the Patient Transport award.

The Fundraising category was won by Pauline Campbell, who has been with the charity for a total of 24 years.

She organises raffles, coffee mornings, bakes and bingo while also selling charity merchandise at Christmas time.

Pauline can regularly been seen fundraising at supermarkets in Ayr and Cumnock. Her peers describe her as dedicated, devoted, and tireless.

Another regular face in Cumnock is Willie, who has been driving patients to hospital appointments since 1994 after taking early retirement.

He also collects patients from Ayr and Girvan and has been praised by his grateful passengers for going ‘above and beyond’.

Among comments made by those who voted for him were ‘an outstanding gentleman’, ‘always polite and helpful’ and a ‘Godsend’.

Other winners were Retail: Marjorie Millar, Service: Janis Laing while a special award for overall outstanding achievement was won by Sally Hamilton.

Sandra McCall, chief executive of the charity, said: “It is thanks to the goodwill and generosity of our many volunteers that we are able to support so many families affected by cancer throughout Ayrshire.

“Without them, we would not reach as many families, providing transport, mental health support or complementary therapies that can prove crucial.

“We wanted to formally recognise the efforts of our fundraisers, drivers and shop staff and came up with the concept of the Cheering Volunteering event.

“All of our volunteers were invited and thanked, and the awards are an extra way of showing our gratitude.”