Big award for Derry Childline volunteer Fiona

NSPCC chief executive Pater Wanless with Fiona Simpson and HRH The Princess of Wessex
NSPCC chief executive Pater Wanless with Fiona Simpson and HRH The Princess of Wessex

Foyle woman, Fiona Simpson, has been recognised for her outstanding achievements as a volunteer for ChildLine, dedicating over 1,000 hours to answering children’s and young people’s calls for help.

The NSPCC acknowledged the dedication and commitment of its volunteers at the charity’s first ever Childhood Champion Awards in London. Winners were presented with their awards at The Banking Hall by Royal Patron of ChildLine and NSPCC President, HRH the Countess of Wessex alongside ChildLine founder Dame Esther Rantzen and NSPCC Chief Executive Peter Wanless.

Not content with volunteering with just one service, Fiona has dedicated her time across the NSPCC Northern Ireland, including the charity’s Schools Service, and at the ChildLine base in Foyle. Fiona has travelled far and wide to help deliver keeping safe messages in schools, and has also provided support and comfort to children with direct voluntary counselling, making a positive impact to so many children and young people’s lives.

Speaking at the event, Fiona said:

“It’s a big surprise to me. I’m delighted to come here. I thought I was just the Northern Ireland champion and here I am on the stage.”

Fiona’s ChildLine volunteer Coordinator, Sarah Carlin, said:

“Fiona really deserves this recognition for all of the work she does for the NSPCC. She has been an invaluable member of the Foyle ChildLine team, dedicating her time to hundreds of young people who need help. She enters each shift with a smile and positive attitude, which really resonates with everyone and is so helpful to our new volunteers.

“She has also literally gone the extra mile in her role as a Schools Service volunteer, getting through snow and ice covered roads last winter to get to a school at Park village. She never settles for second best in the counselling room or classroom, and I’m delighted that all of her hard work has been rewarded.”

All the nominees were recommended by fellow NSPCC volunteers and staff across the country in categories including schools volunteer of the year, frontline volunteer of the year and ChildLine volunteer of the year amongst others.

The winners were selected by a judging panel that included Dame Esther Rantzen, NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless and Derren Heyes who is editor of Children and Young People Now.