Nan Evans Award 2020 Recipient - Betty Stephen
Nominated by Hospice Tairawhiti
For the last 12 years Betty has been coordinating as a volunteer the hospice songsters. This is no easy feat! I understand that before my time when numbers were dwindling Betty took up the challenge, promoted, encouraged, engaged and motivated people to join this amazing group and we now have a 50 strong group of volunteers. The hospice songsters under Bettys leadership are rostered to sing and entertain at our communities age care facilities and rest homes. Betty is a natural leader of people, very well organised, all inclusive, friendly and a huge asset to both myself as hospices volunteer manager and to hospice itself. Betty liaises with each facility, informs all the songsters through a bimonthly newsletter which she creates by herself of date and times, and general communication, information and positive messages. Betty sources music and lyrics to well loved songs, keeps records of attendance and generally keeps connected to everyone who takes part. Betty spent over 6months collating our new music books in alphabetical order ensuring each song had the music sheet for our pianist and had the chorus numbers correct and all adjustments were made. This was an incredibly time consuming chore but one that has enabled us to have fantastic songbooks for each of our songsters to use. Betty encourages and leads practice sessions for some of our dance and movement items. She is very well liked and respected by the songster team.
I truly believe that our songsters would not be in the amazingly happy and organised place that it is if it was not for Bettys hard work and love and devotion to this role and the people she leads. I am in awe of her work ethic, she is an inspiration and I am honored to nominate her for this prestigious award.
I am aware that prior to this role, Betty has been instrumental with 50 forwards, maintaining its newsletter ,organising trips, outings and events for senior people in our community.
The Hospice Songsters have been sharing their love of music and song with our communities, older and disabled people for over 25 years. The current songster team is over 50 strong in numbers and under the leadership of volunteer Betty Stephen, combine their love of music and people by taking it to our communities older people who live in the rest homes, age care facilities and dementia services.
Music can bring great joy, can evoke memory and good times.
The Songsters special style of entertainment is cleverly matched to the places they visit. Accompanied by a pianist, the songs are relevant, interactive and can include a few dances to encourage those listening to join in. Some songs are also sung in Te Reo and some connected to relevant times in history.
Their aim is to reach out and offer comfort, contact and companionship, laughter, joy, and place value, worth, a sense of wellbeing and social inclusiveness for our elderly and disabled community members.