My Hart of Salford award story   03 / June /  2009

A Verry Strange end to just an very ordinary day in my life


salford community reporter asked me if i would do a pice on a that date that relates to an important date in my life
well i have a few some good we all have plenty of them but i thourght id do this story that hapend to me a bit embarising to put to paper but her in door said go for it ha ha
so hear goes, and please remember i am some what dislexick

The day started as any other that day, with me doing a bit of voluntary work manning the phone at a local charity I was the trustee and treasurer for,

 And I was simply asked by the new manager we took on recently if I we would to pop down to Salford’s Bulihill park banqueting hall and to pick up some sort of certificate for the charity. And though I could after also call to an appointment I after I had this day,

But no arrival there were hundreds and hundreds of Guests’ attending .And all formerly dressed? And was i could it was some sort of upmarket event,

I was told it was put on by the Salford council for Voluntary Services (CVS ) jointly with  other Salford organisations, /police commanders  and such and a all very  formerly dressed?  

 Well that is except for Me.?  But just but managed to borrow a tie to look more presentable,

The room was packed and full to the gunnels

But we went to the very back of the room and sat at a table,

And i waited a to see what this event  was all about, and also to find out more about this certificate, as i was not told much about it strangely,

The event started with speeches from the dignitary’s of Salford, with them introducing different category’s of Salford groups of people how do unpaid voluntary work helping and supporting Salford people .And do amassing things all round Salford, and all totally unpaid, what great caring people i thought some of the things we were told about some individuals that volunteer year in and year for years, brought tears to ones eyes to be honest,

 From helping people with terminal /physical and mental to all kinds of disabilities that these charities and individually also I would like to add do to help Salford people, Just amassing I thought , And it included Carers how i feel are also unsung heroes. And give their time to help so many, I was well captivated watching it all,

And gradually it droned on me I might have to possibly  to go to the stage  and pick up the charity’s certificate did voluntary work for,  I thought, as I am not one for such things,??

Well it went on with lots of different categories of people being called to the stage to pick up certificates for the great voluntary work had done.

The group come up about people doing voluntary work helping local Salford people how at times needed support and advice and help.

As for the last around 5 years I had been helping to organise and sort out the finances of a local Salford charity that got into great finances trouble.

I was approached by a well known London charity some years ago.  How they got to now of me and got my name To this day I do not know?

They but I found out they new quite a bit about me,

And could tell they new i that I had worked as the manager for a Salford manufacturing firm (.which i did firm for some 35 years, I and worked myself up from the ground floor to become the overall manager, which I run completely ordering buying selling managing its finances and looking after my staff of at times around 100 staff with indoor and outdoor workers,

I could tell that new I myself had had myself had suffered a mental break down. And I was totally open honest with them about this, and myself find nothing wrong about this as it’s also a fact that.  1 in 4 of people will also suffer some form of mental ill health.

This i now is, just how life is. With all its stresses and strains no one has to at times endure,

I found at the time it can be somewhat embarrassing that people you do not now,, can find out all about  a person and one’s  own life But now it does not bother me to much,

but lot of people simply not realise that these days with the internet and such .it is quite easy to find out about other people’s lives.

This London charity asked if I would be interested in helping this local Salford charity that had got financial problems, and could close down if no help was forthcoming.

And quite soon new they were looking to tap into my managerial skills to help save this Salford charity.

Strangely I found I new one of the trustees of this charity I new a little and spoke to try myself to try myself to   form a better picture of how this charity had started to go downhill  

Got into such great dept.

I myself have often seen over the years some business   down hill and start to slide into financial difficulty, and its

directors  kid  themselves and keep running  a company sliding in the same old way and simply hope things will get better without being honest  and tackling the problems face on.

This i have seen many times. when directors simply do not want to face to facts and try to get to grips with the problems of a business  charity and also in live we have all do this also at times, as it is simply human nature and less stressful to stick ones head in the sand thinking  things will get better soon ,

 But 1 out of 10 usually does not. Face this  and  start to tack the problem  by seeking  advice, And nether be embarrassed toSeek help as i now especially directors and the like do, but don’t As there are places are out there that give practical help and advice use them, i say,.

I learned this charity had very big problems not just financially but also in general and its was all on its old trustees shoulders and they were liable for this dept also and Speaking to them personally i could see the stress was affecting their own health in my opinion and to be honest i felt for them as this is when on is doing ones best to work as trustees giving there precious time for in some cases i new for many years, and to be in and yet to now .such a situation well feel for them to be honest, as all were lovely and deeply caring individuals and still are i now,

As well as me, a solicitor and locally high standing manager was approached, 3 of us in all.

We three meet on are down to and discuss the charity’s problems, I mostly listened to what they  had to say at first then put my contribution forward we all got on so well and had a good constructive meeting, One problem each of the 3 of us faced if any of us decided to become a trustee of this charity’   

Was we even as just new trustees would from a legal point of view, could also be legally responsible and liable for any dept the charity has, ?

To the point that even there was the possibility one could even have a charge put on one’s own home .even to recover any debts the charity had if it closed and went into liquidation

On us being advised the legality’s of especially now becoming a trustee, with the charity problems.

One decided to pull out, saying they did not want to go down this road due to other commitments and great amount of  time they also  would need to put in to helping this charity,? which we felt was a very faire statement, as even the solicitor and I had are reservations at that moment, just we two left

The solicitor was still interested, possibly joining and helping this charity.

We needed to see the last 5 years accounts but found little but managed to put to get to gather as much as we could to form a picture of it finances and such for its previous 5 years, and tolled the old trustees that I and the solicitor once we had gone through them /, We would get back to them in around a week with a decision .To see if we would could possibly help the charity or advice a different root for it,?,

Well about 6 days later I got a call from this solicitor,

How explained to me ! That due to just today a very urgent commitments that had come up and that. He was sorry deeply sorry but had no alternative due to it but to, withdraw.  I would like to add to . his great  credit, and I now this person  absolutely and genuinely wanted to help this charity out . That I could most certainly see this in him, But other urgent commitments came up for him and had to make decisions of importance’s ., such thing happen to us all at times, but such a nice person he was and is,

Well that left just me?   (Some how when I put the phone down the nursery rhyme. (TEN GREEN BOTTELS CAME INTO MY MIND FOR AN INSTENT,)

But this was real, life and the people  this charity were helping  at this time also, were depending on it for help crucial advice and practical and support and i could see they also could end up also in a extremely serious  situation,

 As if I decided not to help. I knew there was a great possibility it would have folded and shut down,

After having a good look at the bits of accounts I managed to get my hands on. And going through it all and also after

Speaking to with the charity  bank/ central charity/ and the local council and such

I sat down with her indoors and the family and we had a good long chat,

As i new with being honest with my self new, considering i was also recovering myself  from a mental health brake down,

 knew  very well that at times I myself  would need the  support of my family (back ground)to help this charity get out of its predicaments,

 So and waving all up carefully and logically as I could,.

My opinion was it could be saved and turned round in my and but due to its large debts and such. It would take hard decisions new forward planning and hard work and time, with all trustees to working as one

My estimation of time scale was 3 to 4  few years to sort it out turn it round and impose  good and tight governance, and have it on a firm foundations,,

But most importantly I new it could still also provide good service for people of Salford wile on its way still, I new, so now,

 A full trustee meeting with all the old then trustees was CalledI could see all the old trustees were feeling some strain looking back now.

I think expecting me to say thank you. But no thanks I listen what they had to say and my self then I had a chat with them all and tolled them that if they wanted me .I t would be a pleasure to become a trustee of the charity on certain conditions


And I  became the trustee and treasurer of this charity and we started to make fast and hard and fast changes.  the main thing was the charity stayed open and running and providing a servicing its clients,

 this was imperative I felt, and made sure it was done .even opening an extra day with me manning the phone and office,

to  people in crisis, while also  trying to sorting its   finances and such out.,

All went well, and well it took me over 4 years to get it into a fit for purpose position and in a good building and on firm foundations, and better still importantly now with money in the bank and now well in black.

We took on a new manager and book keeper.

Imposed good governance. and also won new contract to set up new services for Salford people in recovery,

It was a challenge to me .Especially considering I was also at the time recovering from a mental health brake down  


AND WELL  was well worth the effort and headaches and sleepless nights it gave me at times,

And as it was on a good footing now and in a good finance position carry it into the future

As I decided now was the time for me to step down.

And work on other projects I had wanted to do for some time,,

Before I did new trustees were interviewed and 3 new trustees took on.and then I stepped down, and started my procact with a friend to set up a Salford user forum, which we have just completed, but is in it early stages of giving a voce to Salford disabled people.

Well someone it seems put my name forward to the CVS (Salford council for Voluntary services,)?

Sods ha

So 11/2 hours or so watching these lovely great Salford people being called out to the stage to pick up there the volunteer or charities Certificates they had won, for the all the great voluntary work they have done,

It was and inspiring listening to some of the thing such usually unsung heroes do for the people of Salford and for simply nothing, well I say nothing but I not that’s not quite right ,?   As i now what I get out of it  And money could not buy it, simply also it nice to pay back in a way what was done for me I when very ill  and in hospitalised with my brake down and for a long time also, And to me to be able  as to put some thing back, gives me a  type of a good feeling inside and am sure a lot  must feel this also,,

Well I had a appointment and wanted to quietly off as I had a lot on this day, but was stopped by one of its organisers. And basically told how you must not miss the main words there great,

and was lead by the arm back to my seat,??

So what came next was .all the different categories of volunteering .and there was quite a few, of their winners also to   be picked out of them also  the overall volunteer of the year for the  city of Salford, .

 Well the Good of Salford’s   dignitary’s in attendance there .like chef of police/ councillors /mayor and x moyrs and well to menny to mention here. Each spoke words of gratitude regarding all the work of the Salford volunteers,.

And then came the announcement mentioning my name,

I was just at the time eating a piece of food from the lovely dinner at the table, and nearly choked, when my name was read out,

And wanted to run to the run toilet .but that’s a bit awkward when hundred of people had turned there heads to me sitting right at the last table at the very back’s had to stand with the rest at the stage then from the group the volunteer of the very was picked .and again was gob smacked when I was chosen,

For this award as over all volunteer of the year,?

I grabbed the trophy seed thank you and crystal trophy. (Lovely also)got ASAP back my seat and sit into the chair as low as could .ha ha

 I was so embarrassed .and felt my face was burning and tolled after my face was as red as a beetroot,

God I thought ill get off now, and got up .But this lady came to my table and congratulated me on wining the Salford 2009 volunteer of the very for voluntary work in the Salford community, and chatted .and has since become a really good friend indeed,

Well the evening by now was drawing to a close .and I was to late to meet the person I had made an appointment to but sorted that by phone,

So agreed with this lady I might as well wait and the last award event. I was tooled it was for the overall hart of Salford award. Picked out from all the winners of all the volunteering categories,

And the compare went through a little abbot each god I thought I hope he douse not speak about with getting this award volunteering award,?

But only a little was said about me. (Thank god for that I thought) but i think my face still glowed reader still.

As then all the people were called down as they were spoken about .like I say I was last and went down and sort of hid at the back .and wanting to get back to my seat. as listening to what as I Said before all these people do .and in one case done for 12 years, come rain snow or sine .was well  so amazing and amassing and hart rendering,

that’s the only way I can put it to be honest .as words .in such cases simply can’t show what such people i now do for the community,  .but I knew well and they  every single one of them, are extraordinary amazing people, in their own right, by the 20.000 thousand voluntary work that such people do  Salford even as i right this last year alone  2011 in this sector is worth more than £121 million to the City of Salford  each year.??

Now it was time for the Hart of Salford to be named,

By this time was feeling I remember a somewhat shattered as it had been a long day for me. With also manning the phone earlier on,

There a great silence spread all round the room you could have dropped a pin, then a name was read out,?

odd I thought how can i get out of this  i intentionally stud at the back of the large group on the stage as was a bit shy then with hundreds looking on at the group on the stage,

Then what I can describe as only like  i have read the red sea parting, in front of my with the group parting each side to reveal me ,

 i did not really now what was going on for a minute to be honest, as when it hit me  God I thought this is going to be difficult for me  as also i thought they had  read the wrong name out

I was standing there in full view with hundreds of eyes on me?

 .How my god I thought .and walked as somehow my feet walked on like what seemed as on here own  across to the presenters and dignitary’s of Salford stud at the fount .Murphy,

I was handed spoken at leant about .which is I now why got away with it previously? And then handed a large most beautiful crystal trophy in the shape of a large star, the I remember the mike was put in front of me. And all I could say was

The first thing out of mouth was

"I am sorry but I think there has been some mistake"

AS I thought listening to hundreds of people i considered do much (more than I do. someone got the name of the hart of Salford wrong,)

And I distinctly remember one of Salford longest servicing and most distinguished Salford Councillors a Cllr Joe Murphy.

Looking at me directly and saying with a big Smile (no son there has definitely been no mistake)

Which ill nether ever forget his was the one of the most unexpected l strangest day of my life.

I like many have been through a lot of good and bad times in my life through some bad   illnesses I have had to fight

To good things like recently just becoming a Great Granddad,

But even now when I think about this day and think  to the .  03/June/2009

It  gives me  Goose Bumps  Still,

Philip Hamer

a salford lad

ALSO as a post script: May i say what I now and a now about the many thousands of people how give their time totally free.

To help and give support to Salford people .And in doing so also makes Salford in turn a better place to live. And giving some recognition to such lovely caring and dedicated people I feel is now so important especial now with such cuts, But must be promoted so that  recognition of such magnanimous people can be achieved every year still.

Thanks to the CVS / Police and many other Salford organisation  AND long may it go on, as it most certainly has MY  support


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