News Walthamstow

Walthamstow woman recognised for long-standing community volunteering efforts

Gail Penfold has been nominated for a Robert Burns Humanitarian Award

A selfless Walthamstow woman who has been a volunteer, fundraiser, and campaigner in the community for close to five decades has been nominated for a humanitarian award in Scotland.

Gail Penfold, the founder of the Walthamstow Stadium area residents association has provided benefit, debt management, budgeting assistance & essential items to those in need across the country.

Gail has also worked to support people with mental health issues since she was a teenager and has organised ‘silent’ funfairs for autistic children who can’t cope with loud noises and crowds. Her achievements also include launching what is the first GP-led gardening welfare group in Waltham Forest.

Speaking to South Ayrshire council, which runs the award, Gail said: “I just try to give a little joy and make things a little easier for others where I can.  I am truly humbled to be chosen as a finalist for this prestigious international award.”

Her brother Nick Lovell told the Echo: “Gail has a huge heart and is always ready to help anyone that needs it.

Throughout her life Gail has shown this through her service as a special constable, the many people she has helped and the time and effort she has spent with the Stow Resident’s group.  

She put on events for the coronation, for Easter, Christmas and Halloween and also runs a pet food bank.”

Martin Dowey, leader of South Ayrshire council and chair of the Robert Burns humanitarian awards said: “This time round, we have two inspirational finalists. They have devoted themselves to the care of others and truly embody the spirit of the RBHA. I am looking forward to the end of January when the winner will be announced.”

The winner of the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award will be announced via an online ceremony on Wednesday 25th January.

In a nod to Robert Burns’ year of birth, award winners will also be given 1759 guineas (which was the money used in England at the time and is worth about £1,800 in today’s money).