Jane Cooper recognised for her volunteering activities
Jane Cooper during her time as Wandsworth Mayor
April 28, 2023
A former Wandsworth Councillor and three-times Wandsworth Mayor has been named as a Coronation Champion.
Honorary Alderman Jane Cooper is one of only 500 “extraordinary” volunteers hand-picked from over 5000 nominations for the work they do in their communities.
Hers long volunteering career began early, growing up in Redcar in Yorkshire. After moving to London and marrying her husband Arnold, her drive to help in the community led her to become a Conservative Councillor in Wandsworth for 20 years, a school governor for 33 years and a magistrate for over 26 years. She was even a kidney donor for her sister, and set up Donor 2001 to raise awareness of organ donation.
The judges choosing the Coronation Champions were also impressed by the way she raised over £140,000 as Mayor for Wandsworth for charities such as Battersea (the dogs’ and cats’ home), the Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK Wandsworth, and Putney and Roehampton Boxing Club.
She also helped to set up a food bank during Covid, started a programme to raise awareness of knife crime and - although in her seventies - did a sponsored bike ride to help buy a minibus for Roehampton charity Regenerate-RISE when their minibus was cruelly stolen.
Since retiring as a Councillor in 2022, she hasn’t stopped. She is a trustee of the Peace Memorial Fund that helps to pay for holidays for Wandsworth schoolchildren, and will be President of the local Rotary Club next year, where her role includes helping women on Wandsworth’s Council estates and selling poppies.
The Coronation Champions Awards, run by the Royal Voluntary Service with Her Majesty the Queen Consort, picked 500 winners who “dazzled the judging panel with the impact of their work, their inspirational stories and unwavering commitment to volunteering”.
Ms Cooper said, “I’m surprised but also thrilled, because as well as getting a lovely badge and certificate signed by the King and Queen, I’m invited to the King’s concert at Windsor Castle on 7 May, which will be fantastic!
“My mum taught me that helping out locally is a duty, so aged six, I went shopping for elderly neighbours - in the days when a child could go to the shops alone! At 15, I was hosting fundraising events for Oxfam, and later I hosted barbecues at home to raise money for 10 guide dogs.”
Ravi Govindia, East Putney Councillor and former Wandsworth Council Leader, said, “Jane is a force of nature. She really is extraordinary at bringing people together, setting up community initiatives and fundraising for charities. Although she has now retired as a Councillor, many people still think she is a Councillor, so she goes on helping them!”
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said, “We were completely blown away by the huge volume of amazing nominees. Our judges had a tough job selecting just 500 Champions. Each Champion displayed a commitment and contribution far exceeding any expectation and we’re overjoyed to honour them.”
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