A VOLUNTEER who’s spent almost a decade caring for witnesses at Solihull Magistrates Court has won Royal recognition at an awards ceremony.
Gill Ingram has committed much of her free time to the Homer Road court since joining the Witness Service – run by independent national charity Victim Support – when it was set up there in 2001.
And her loyal service was recognised recently when HRH The Princess Royal presented her with a regional accolade during Victim Support’s Volunteer Awards 2010 at a gala staged in London’s British Museum.
“It’s flattering, and unexpected, to receive the award,” said Gill, mum of Solihull PC Gary Ingram, “and a great honour to be presented with it by a member of the royal family.
“Working with Witness Support, and helping people through the court process, is very rewarding. Some witnesses, especially children, may be nervous or confused by the experience so my job is to put them at ease, give them confidential support, and to explain the system.”
Notably, Gill helped a six-year-old girl to give court evidence on three occasions and, according to local Witness Service Manager Anne Rawling, it is Gill’s care and compassion that makes her deserving of the honour.
“Gill does an amazing job…we wouldn’t be able to offer the level of service we do without volunteers like her,” added Anne.
“She’s always prepared to go the extra mile which is important when helping victims through the aftermath of crime. Our volunteers help people affected by crime to find the strength to move on with their lives.
“Victim Support’s West Midlands’ area covers five neighbouring counties so there were many more very worthy volunteers eligible for the regional award.”
Gill’s late husband, John, was a former West Midlands Police Inspector who sadly died whilst playing football with Silhill Veterans in August 1990 aged just 46. Earlier this year saw the 20th annual playing of the John Ingram Memorial Shield between teams from Solihull Police and Silhill.
Solihull Police Detective Chief Inspector Lee Wharmby recognises the force’s close link with the Witness Service and the key role people like Gill play in helping secure convictions.
He added: “Gill does great work supporting witnesses for prosecution cases…she thoroughly deserves this recognition.”