A BIG-HEARTED Basingstoke man, who has been volunteering for the British Heart Foundation for more than a decade, has received a national award in recognition of his tireless charity work.

Alfred Hedges, 75, has been named Retail Volunteer of the Year after 11 years volunteering for the BHF store, in Wote Street.

Mr Hedges spends three mornings each week at the store, sorting out the books which are brought in as donations.

He said: “I worked by BHF before retiring so volunteering was always something I wanted to do. It’s no hardship – it’s something I really enjoy. I will definitely carry on for as long as I am able to.”

The pensioner added that he was delighted to have been handed the award, saying: “There are so many worthy volunteers who give their time to the BHF.

“I have made some wonderful friends and have so many lovely memories. I would encourage anyone to volunteer as it is such a rewarding experience.”

Mr Hedges, who lives in the town centre, was given his award on Monday to coincide with Volunteers Week, which runs from June 1 to June 7.

Store manager Tony Temple thanked him for all his hard work, and said: “He does a brilliant job and is in the shop come rain or shine. We are so grateful to him and all of our volunteers.”

Mags O’Halloran, area manager for BHF in Basingstoke, said: “Volunteers are absolutely essential to the success of the charity, and play a vital part in fighting coronary heart disease, the nation’s single biggest killer. We simply couldn’t do the amazing work we do without people like Alfred.

“We appreciate every minute he has given us and we hope this award will go some way to showing how grateful we are.”

For more information about volunteering for the charity, visit bhf.org.uk/volunteer or contact your local shop.