Birmingham charity worker receives national award

SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, recently bestowed the Sir James Gildea Award on Mary O’Donnell, who has volunteered for the charity for the last 19 years.

The award, named after the charity’s founder, is only given to those volunteers who have shown outstanding commitment to the charity. Mary, who is a social worker, is a specialist in children’s matters and, as such, is highly valued by the Greater Birmingham branch that often work with families of serving personnel and veterans.

Edward Coke, SSAFA Greater Birmingham Chair, said:

“Mary’s compassionate and holistic approach to casework makes a great difference to the outcomes for beneficiaries. If their need is not covered by ordinary means, she has the knowledge and determination to find and then signpost to alternative provision. She has been an invaluable member of our team.”

Mary’s experience and confidence means that she has been a lead caseworker, assisting newly trained caseworkers on their initial assignments and offering them the benefit of her background and experience.

SSAFA operates in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland as well as overseas, supporting tens of thousands of people from within the Armed Forces family – Regular and Reserves, serving or retired, and their families – annually.

Volunteers come from all walks of life and a military background is not necessary. To find out about opportunities with the UK’s oldest tri-service charity visit

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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