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Teacher honoured with NSPCC Childhood Champion award

PUBLISHED: 13:35 12 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:35 12 June 2018

The NSPCC holds its annual Champion Volunteers Awards reception, luncheon and awards ceremony at Banking Hall, London.
Joanne Knight is pictured with her framed certificate.
Photography: Fergus Burnett

 Photography for CPG Photography

The NSPCC holds its annual Champion Volunteers Awards reception, luncheon and awards ceremony at Banking Hall, London. Joanne Knight is pictured with her framed certificate. Photography: Fergus Burnett Photography for CPG Photography

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A Lowestoft teacher has been recognised for her support for the NSPCC with a special award.

Sarah Laffling is pictured with Dame Esther Rantzen. Picture: The North Suffolk branch of the NSPCCSarah Laffling is pictured with Dame Esther Rantzen. Picture: The North Suffolk branch of the NSPCC

For 15 years music teacher Joanne Knight has taken children from Elm Tree Primary Academy in Lowestoft to entertain guests at the charity’s annual Christmas event at Mancroft Towers in Oulton Broad – an evening which regularly raises significant funds for the NSPCC.

As a result she was nominated by the Lowestoft committee for recognition, and at a special lunch event in London last week she received the Childhood Champion award volunteer of the year for the East of England.

The event was attended by the charity’s patron, Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, and Dame Esther Rantzen, who founded Childline, which the NSPCC now runs.

Addressing all those receiving awards, the Countess of Wessex said: “People like yourselves think about other people without even realising it, you are the kinds of people that put yourselves out there to help others and you don’t even think about it, it’s part of your DNA.

“And as a result of that, organisations like the NSPCC are able to function, because without volunteers we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”

Speaking afterwards, Ms Knight said: “Every Autumn for about 15 years, I’ve run an after-school choir club leading up to our annual performance at the NSPCC Christmas event at Mancroft Towers.

“I was so honoured to be presented with the award and am grateful to staff at Elm Tree Primary who support me every Christmas with the choir.

“The evening is organised by the NSPCC team and we are just a part of the evening, but I always feel it’s the start of Christmas for me!”

At the same awards event Sarah Laffling – the charity’s community fundraising manager for Suffolk and Essex – received the Employee Volunteer of the Year award for the East of England.

Terry Reeve, chairman of the North Suffolk branch of the NSPCC, said both awards were richly deserved, and reflected well on all the branch’s committees.

“Joanne has shown great commitment and support in preparing the children and bringing them to the Christmas event.” he said.

“It is exactly that sort of help we look for from the community.”


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