Parky and the Princess commend Angela at the palace

1. Sir Michael Parkinson presents Angela with her glass plaque
Sir Michael Parkinson presents Angela with her glass plaque

Angela Clayton-Turner was summoned to a reception at Buckingham Palace recently to receive a William Brooks Volunteer Award for her outstanding contribution to Alzheimer’s Society.

2. Angela, left, with Princess Alexandra and Sir Michael Parkinson
Angela, left, with Princess Alexandra and Sir Michael Parkinson

Angela, who recently stepped down as an Oxleas’ governor, cares for her husband Ted who has Alzheimer’s. She is a very active Alzheimer’s volunteer who sits on the society’s nominations committee and has travelled to conferences in Luxembourg and Brussels this year. Though no longer a governor, Angela also remains active within Oxleas. She is a member of Dr Adrian Treloar’s research and development group for older adults, sits on the User/Carer Council and is part of the patient experience visiting programme.

The William Brooks Awards were established by Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Paul Brooks in memory of his father, and annually commend 10 volunteers for exceptional work on behalf of the society. They are a significant honour, as the 10 winners are chosen from a total of 90 nominees. Angela says she was surprised to find out she’d won: “It came completely out of the blue. I didn’t even know I’d been nominated until I opened the letter. I feel very lucky as there are many people who devote a great deal of their time to the society.”

Angela’s big day started out with a lunch at the Royal Society’s elegant home in Carlton House Terrace, overlooking The Mall and St James’s Park, on 2 November. Veteran broadcaster Sir Michael Parkinson read out the citations and presented the winners with commemorative engraved glass plaques. From there a fleet of cars swept Angela and the other nine winners down The Mall, through the ornate wrought iron gates at its end and on into Buckingham Palace.

Angela takes up the story: “The cars stopped at the red carpeted stone stairs that you see on the news when dignitaries arrive. We went up the stairs and into the Green Room where we had tea. Then we all lined up and Sir Michael Parkinson introduced us to Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, who is Royal Patron of Alzheimer's Society. Her Royal Highness spoke to each of us and presented us with a framed certificate.”

Sir Michael paid tribute to the 10, saying: “I am delighted to offer my congratulations to these ten volunteers. Their commitment to improving the lives of people living with dementia, and their carers, is inspirational. Alzheimer's Society relies on volunteers to continue their vital work, and as the number of people with dementia rises they will need volunteer support more than ever.”

And then, according to Angela, an unexpected thing happened. “Sir Michael Parkinson kissed me. I wondered why, as he hadn’t kissed any of the other women winners. And then as we were leaving he did it again, so this time I asked him why. ‘Because you have a lovely smile’ he said.”

Published on 15th November 2011