Ken Barbary, 70, has scooped up the top accolade at this year’s fifth Inspiring Volunteering awards for his work for the Lynton Centre, East Linton.
Mr Barbary beat 90 other nominees to win the Volunteer of the Year award, which he received at a gala dinner held earlier this year. He was recognised for his hard work and dedication at the Lynton Centre, where he chairs the board and runs the centre’s administration.
His nomination said: “Ken is a modest man and unless you knew the amount of work he puts into our day centre you would have no idea that it depends so completely on him. He never complains, clearly enjoys his role and makes sure that all the other volunteers know that they are appreciated.”
Mr Barbary has been chair of the Lynton centre since it’s inception 11 years ago, and last year he was appointed secretary of the Association of East Lothian day centres, where he is in charge of co-ordinating and facilitating the training needed in day centres.
The Lynton centre is a day care centre for older people to meet their peers, play games and enjoy a freshly cooked lunch. It came in being when the chair of the local community council approached Mr Barbary, with the idea to start the centre and provide a service to the elderly folk of the community and surrounding villages.
“I had just taken early retirement and I considered myself fortunate for always having had work and a decent standard of living, so I felt that I really wanted to do something and support something in the community,” he said.
Mr Barbary said he felt “humbled” for winning the award and was very grateful to those who put him forward for the award.
“I am proud that I won the award but also humbled by all the people that have helped and contributed,” he said.
Margriet Ramakers, who runs the Lynton Centre, referred to Mr Barbary as a hard working gentleman.
“He pops in almost every day to see if we’re ok and gives a hand with tasks such as peeling potatoes and playing the piano,” she said. “He plays the piano every Wednesday afternoon, playing songs that date back to the olden days. Songs which the people remember and enjoy.”
Born in Manchester, Mr Barbary then moved around in England before moving to Scotland in 1967, finally settling in East Linton. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, four grandchildren, and friends. Both Barbary and his wife enjoy walking and going to the theatre and concerts.
Winning the Volunteer of the Year award has spurred Mr Barbary to continue and improve his work with the centre, where he hopes to continuously make developments and improvements to the centre and the level of service which they provide.