A SELFLESS volunteer who has made hundreds of elderly people’s wishes come true has been recognised for his kindness.

Tony Lee created the Wishing Washing Line initiative as part of the Friends and Neighbours (FaNs) network.

This community of 1,500 Facebook members works to improve the quality of life for older people living in care homes.

Tony, from Colchester, regularly spends evenings, weekends and holidays helping elderly people and manning the social media sites for FaNs.

He set up the Wishing Washing Line initiative in April 2017.

Care home residents can fix their wishes to a washing line in a public place and if someone is able to grant it, they contact the care home.

Tony said: “It started off with Milton Lodge and St Fillans care homes in Colchester, plus beavers and cubs and St John’s Church.

“It was all about trying to get each one of these partners engaging with each other.

“The cubs and beavers would do activities for their badges at the care homes and care home residents would visit the beavers and cubs.”

In Essex alone there are now 16 Wishing Washing Lines, which can be found in supermarkets like Tesco, council offices and independent shops.

Outside the county there are about 20 washing lines and they have crept across the globe as far as Sydney, Australia.

On June 8, Tony will be flying to China to launch the initiative there as part of a documentary on the FaNs project.

One of his favourite wishes was made by 90-year-old Joan Corp of Milton Lodge, who ordered naked butlers to the home to provide a saucy meal.

He said: “We had another elderly lady with dementia who was a zoo keeper for the day, she helped look after the giraffes.

“There was a lady in Clacton who wanted to go out with a motorbike group, sadly she passed away but her wish is still being granted as the group is going to escort her coffin to the funeral.”

Tony, 47, was commended for his work at the 2019 Who Will Care? Awards.

He won the Social Media Volunteer Award for his work manning the FaNs Facebook page.

The FaNs network was also a finalist for the Innovation Award, which was scooped by Great Notley Prom Donations in Braintree.

Tony’s day job is a match day manager for Warwickshire Cricket Club and he works part-time for FaNs.

In Essex 1,600 wishes have been submitted and about 80 per cent of them have been granted.

Colchester Gateway Clubs for people with learning disabilities was a finalist for the Voluntary Community Service Award.

Mea Charlton who volunteers at the Inclusive Club Stanway was a finalist for the Young Person Volunteer Award. Phil Richards won the Adult Volunteer Award for his work on the Colchester SOS bus.