Milestone for Forth Valley Sensory Centre Volunteer- Falkirk’s Provost and former Provost came together this week to thank local resident, John Ormsby for his fantastic service to people in Forth Valley with sensory loss. He was presented with a ‘Falkirk Hero’ Medal by Provost Billy Buchanan.

John (76) has been volunteering at Forth Valley Sensory Centre for 11 years and has helped various partners in the building. He currently hosts drop in sessions and advice for Action on Hearing Loss and supports NHS Forth Valley by welcoming people to the Low Vision clinics.

In addition, John has previously volunteered with RNIB and Seagull Trust but is perhaps most appreciated for play a certain red suited festive character at the annual Winter Fair within the Sensory Centre.

Despite the role meaning John has to remain anonymous behind his white beard, he remains a key part of the proceedings each year. He also visits schools and youth groups, like Scouts and Beaver Packs to talk about sensory loss and provides guided tours to student nurses looking to know more about what the Centre does.

Caroline Storey, Volunteer Coordinator at Forth Valley Sensory Centre said:
“What makes John such a brilliant ambassador for the Centre is that he has dual sensory loss himself. He wears a hearing aid and has difficulties with his sight but, that hasn’t stopped him putting in an amazing amount of work here. It also gives him a real position of authority on the topic of sensory loss. He is able to talk to adults and children about how sensory loss affects his life and the adjustments he has made. This gives his audience real insight and affinity to what he is saying.

“The value of the time John has given to the various partners here at the Centre and our hundreds of Centre Users should not be under estimated. He is a well-known face here in the Centre and his volunteer work, tireless and unpaid as it is, is very much appreciated.”

As a token of appreciation, John, who lives in Polmont, was presented with a Falkirk Hero medal certificate by current Falkirk Provost, Councillor Billy Buchanan. Only ten of the medals, introduced by former Provost, Councillor Pat Reid, who was present to watch the event have ever been presented. A commemorative cake was baked by staff from the Centre Café and a certificate, recognising the hours put in by John was also presented.

Speaking at the event Provost Buchanan commented:
“It is great to celebrate this achievement with John. The diversity and importance of his work should not be underestimated. He has made an exceptional contribution to helping the people of Falkirk and we are delighted to recognise that fact.”

John was also given flowers and a certificate from Centre partner Action on Hearing Loss.

Teri Devine, Acting Director of Action on Hearing Loss Scotland said: “We are delighted that John’s dedicated support for people with hearing loss at Forth Valley Sensory Centre is being recognised.

“John goes the extra mile to introduce visitors with hearing loss to a range of assistive equipment, such as amplified telephones and personal listeners, and patiently takes time to demonstrate how they can improve their everyday lives.

“We hope John enjoys his celebrations and reflects on the many positive impacts which his volunteering brings.”

If you are interested in following in John’s footsteps, have a look at our volunteering page here.

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