This International Women’s Day, we want to highlight and celebrate the achievements of one woman who has made a huge contribution to our charity.
Marion Fletcher first became involved with the Nightshelter in 1990 after hearing an appeal for volunteers at her church. In those days, the Nightshelter operated only in the winter months using available empty buildings to provide a basic place to shelter for the night.
Marion helped with the set up of mattresses, cleaned and cooked. After being involved for just over a year, an opportunity came up to take on the role of Treasurer on the Volunteer Board of Directors. Marion didn’t have any formal accountancy experience but was a maths teacher with a love of keeping accounts. Little did she know at that point that thirty years later she would still be keeping track of the figures for the Nightshelter.
“Sir Francis Drake once said in a famous prayer that it is not starting something but continuing with it that is important. I have been pleased to be able to use my skills to help others.” Marion recently explained.
Marion is the Nightshelter’s longest serving volunteer having given countless hours of her time. She stepped down from the role of Treasurer in 2020 but still plans to volunteer in the kitchen with her husband although the pandemic has made this a little tricky for now. During her time at the charity she has seen huge developments as it has progressed from a basic place to shelter for the night to a source of invaluable ongoing support for people experiencing homelessness.
“The change has been tremendous. Not just in the accommodation but in the help and support that is offered, and recently the expansion to the move on houses” commented Marion.
During her years of volunteering, Marion has seen first hand how the Nightshelter has helped people experiencing homelessness. Many moments and interactions stay with her. “People who are homeless come from all walks of life, for many different reasons. About 5 years ago, when serving a meal, a resident called us Mr and Mrs Fletcher. When I asked how he knew our name he explained that he had gone to school with our son and used to live near us.”
Michele Price, Chief Executive of the Nightshelter, recognises Marion’s selfless contribution: “It has been an honour to work alongside Marion. As well as playing a key role on the board, Marion has continued to cook at the Nightshelter every two weeks with her husband. Over the last 30 years, she must have prepared and served approximately 12,000 meals. We operate with a very small team of staff and rely heavily on our volunteers to support our vital work. We are fortunate to have many loyal supporters who regularly give up their time but Marion is our longest serving volunteer.”
Marion’s contribution has recently been recognised by the High Sheriff of Hampshire with a High Sheriff of Hampshire Award for going above and beyond.