'A privilege' - Pair retire after decades at domestic abuse charity

Drena Black, left, and Margaret Blakey, right, receiving gifts after signing off as chairman of trustees and secretary of the Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum respectively

Drena Black, left, and Margaret Blakey, right, receiving gifts after signing off as chairman of trustees and secretary of the Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum respectively. Picture: Dorene Lawrence - Credit: Dorene Lawrence

Two well respected officers are retiring from a charity that supports families and victims of domestic abuse across Waveney.

With more than 50 years of service between them, Drena Black and Margaret Blakey are signing off as chairman of trustees and secretary of the Waveney Domestic Violence and Abuse Forum respectively.

The duo retired at an emotional annual meeting, although both will remain as trustees to assist the newly formed board.

As the Forum moves into its 40th year, after being formed in 1981 with Mrs Black as group chairman, a spokesman said: "Her personal commitment, passion and determination to support victims of this terrible crime are second to none.

"There is no doubt her impact on the whole of society in the north east of Suffolk has been transformational.

"Drena has never been satisfied with the status quo, raising funds through awareness campaigns, giving talks in the community, and these funds have helped the forum go from strength to strength - all down to Drena’s enthusiasm and exceptional leadership."

Having joined the Forum 13 years ago as a trustee, Mrs Blakey later became secretary, and though still working part time at James Paget Hospital she also volunteers in other roles.

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Over the years the Forum has expanded and now offers a variety of services, with hopes high that a new programme can be delivered - called Getting to Know You - once the pandemic is over.

Mrs Black, who has received numerous awards over the years, said: "It has been a privilege to have been part of this team for so long, to have worked with such inspiring and hard working people whose only thoughts were to help and improve families well being so that they may move onto a better future.

"I genuinely thought when starting that in 10 years we would make a huge difference to numbers, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

"Never could we have realised the true number of clients both male and female and their families over the years.

"My grateful thanks for their help in trying to balance and care for those adults and children go to both the voluntary and statutory agencies that we work alongside to enable others to have a better life.

"We just hope we have made a difference."

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