A VOLUNTEER has received a coveted cancer charity accolade.

Lead volunteer Peter Carrington gives up to five days a week to the Macmillan Information Centre, at Essex County Hospital, Colchester.

He is the only volunteer in Macmillan Cancer Support’s London, Anglia and South East region to have gained a Deborah Hutton Award.

The honour, in memory of Deborah Hutton, is for volunteers who provide practical support and care to people affected by cancer.

Deborah, who died from lung cancer in 2005, wrote “What Can I do to Help?, a book of 75 practical ideas for family and friends to help loved ones with the disease.

Mr Carrington, 57, from Colchester, was nominated by Debbie Farthing, Macmillan’s support manager at the hospital.

She said: “Peter was my first volunteer. He is a committed and passionate volunteer.

“Peter’s dedication to patient care is exemplary and he regularly goes above and beyond the boundaries of his role. The feedback from patients, family members and staff is incredibly positive – Peter is a tremendous asset to the team.”

Mr Carrington gives up at least three days a week to volunteer and five days when Mrs Farthing is on leave.

He received the award from Dr Gordon Coutts, chief executive of Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust.

Mr Carrington said: “I became a volunteer at the information centre in January last year, but I’ve been volunteering in other capacities for 40 years, since I was 16.

“I find it very rewarding, especially when you see the relief on people’s faces when you make them aware of the range of help available.”

Social worker Mr Carrington has volunteered in the fields of physical disability, mental health, suicide, drugs, alcohol, mediation, older people and homelessness.

His last job was as community safety manager for Colchester Council for ten years, in which he was instrumental in developing Colchester’s SOS Bus.

The information centre has ten volunteers with another 20 awaiting induction.