Community honour after family rack up nearly 100 years of volunteering for veterans’ charity

A family has been recognised for their many years of volunteering by the Mayor of Kingston.

Sisters Lesley Parvin and Shirley Pass, and their husbands John Parvin and Terry Pass, were awarded a Mayor’s Group Community Award for their service at The Royal Star & Garter Homes.

The presentation took place at the Mayor’s Community Award ceremony at the Kingston Guildhall on Monday, 18 March, and was attended by John and Lesley. Shirley and Terry were unable to attend.

The family first started volunteering for the Charity at its Richmond Home in 1993 when Lesley and Shirley’s father Leslie Boswell became a resident.

Now volunteering for its Surbiton Home, the family has between them amassed nearly 100 years of voluntary work through helping The Royal Star & Garter Homes, which cares for ex-Servicemen and women and partners living with disability or dementia.

John, a former carpenter, helps with wood craft sessions. Along with his wife Lesley, they also accompany residents on outings, and help run the mobile Naafi wagon shop, which provides treats and toiletries to our residents.

Shirley is – amongst many things – responsible for our residents’ fabulous nails, coming in regularly to manicure.

She and Terry also help with outings and activities in the Home such as concerts and events. Unfortunately, ill health has restricted Terry’s volunteering with the Charity over recent months, but he is hoping to return in the near future.

John, Lesley, Shirley and Terry spend time chatting to residents over cups of tea and coffee, reading them newspapers and also helping with the weekly skittles competition.

Kingston Mayor Thay Thayalan said: “It was a proud and inspiring occasion to present these awards, which recognises the amazing contributions of those who have given their own time for the good of the community and help others. There are huge number of community-minded people in Kingston. The Community Awards acknowledges the achievement of these individuals and appreciates their contribution.”

In January, John was awarded a British Empire Medal in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in recognition of voluntary services to Veterans. Speaking after the Mayor’s Community Awards, the great grandfather from Mitcham said: “It’s nice that this is for the family. We all started together and I’m glad that we can all share this award together.”

Speaking before the awards, Shirley, from Croydon said: “I didn’t think when I first started volunteering that I’d still be here nearly 26 years later. But we wouldn’t still be here if we didn’t enjoy it. The residents are a joy to be with, and the staff do so much. The residents call The Royal Star & Garter Homes their home and it really does feel like a family.”

The Charity’s Director of Care, Pauline Shaw, also attended the ceremony to read our volunteers’ citation. She said: “It was humbling to be surrounded by so many people who have done so much for their community. I’m especially thrilled that the extraordinary service provided by our four volunteers has been recognised by the Mayor.”

Surbiton Home Activities & Volunteers Manager, Raquel Pena Aristizabal, added: “I can’t speak highly enough of John, Lesley, Shirley and Terry. It’s clear they genuinely care, and it’s a joy to have them here brightening up our residents’ days.”

The Charity relies on all its volunteers to help support veterans with the best possible care.


Notes to editor:

John Parvin started volunteering for The Royal Star & Garter Homes in 1993 before working six years for the Charity. Upon retiring in 2001 he returned to volunteering.

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About The Royal Star & Garter Homes:

The Charity provides award-winning care for military veterans and their partners who live with disability or dementia.

The Royal Star & Garter Homes is a charity founded in 1916 to care for the severely injured men returning from the battlegrounds of the First World War.

Today our friendly, state-of-the-art Homes offer a pioneering approach to nursing, dementia and therapeutic care. We have award-winning Homes in Solihull, West Midlands and Surbiton, Surrey. Our third Home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire opens in spring 2019.

We continue to expand our services to reach even more veterans. In 2018, we were able to support 185 residents and over 60 guests at the Star & Garter Club, our day care service. We also offer interim care for young disabled Service personnel. We provided 11,700 individual sessions of physiotherapy and speech & language therapy last year to support our residents’ health, and over 5,600 places to residents for activities, outings and events, to promote well-being.

We are proud to have enjoyed Royal patronage since our foundation, including that of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II from 1953 to the present day.


Twitter: @starandgarter




The Royal Star & Garter Homes is a member of the National Care Forum – the leading voice for not-for-profit care providers. A national perspective may be available from or by contacting 02476243619. More details on NCF available at

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