10/09/2015 - AA wins Community Service Award
John Thornhill, who volunteers for NAAN member CCP, has been singled out for a special award for his unstinting support to adult and juvenile detainees for over 21 years.
Mr Thornhill, who is now 83, is finally retiring from a voluntary role as an Appropriate Adult, and has been awarded a Chief Constable’s Community Service Award for his dedicated service during over two decades – described in his citation as a ‘fantastic achievement’.
The Appropriate Adult scheme is supported by the charity County Community Projects, which provides AA services in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.
John received his award from the Chief Constable, Suzette Davenport, at a ceremony at Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Waterwells HQ in Quedgeley.
“It has been a hugely rewarding experience, as well as fascinating. It came about after I retired from ICI. I was a Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator for Longlevens and was invited by a police acquaintance to take on the role of an Appropriate Adult.
“I reckon I have done the role in over 2,750 cases. If not a record that might be fairly close. It was a new world for me, and when I started I had never been in a police custody site. When that custody door shuts it can be a disturbing and disorientating environment.
“For me it was a chance to help and comfort people in trouble. I would speak to them about anything and everything, and people would often come up to me in the street and re-introduce themselves, which was very gratifying.
I loved the role and it was a privilege - if I helped just one youngster back on to the straight and narrow, then it was worth it.”
Andrew Erving, Manager of CCP, who recommended John for the role, said:
“John has been utterly dedicated to this work for over 20 years. Responding to calls for help both day and night, he has proved extremely popular and is highly spoken of in custody suites, by detainees and the police alike, even when taking a firm stand for a detainee’s rights.
“People have specifically asked for John to be their supporter,and it is no surprise at all that former detainees come up to him in the street and say hello.
“He thoroughly deserves the award.”
John and his wife Mary, who were both at the award ceremony, will still be kept busy, with a daughter Jane, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren to keep an eye on.
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