Celebrating Syd's 20-year volunteering milestone

One of Leonard Cheshire’s most decorated volunteers has a reason to celebrate this Volunteers’ Week, commemorating 20 years of befriending residents and transforming lives at Cheshire House in Inverness.

Syd Barber became a volunteer at Cheshire House in February 2001.

Leonard Cheshire was the obvious choice to begin his befriending journey after retirement given his RAF service as a youngster. 

He is best known for devising The Cheshire Patch – a dedicated service newsletter that acknowledges the great work at the service.

The publication, first published in December 2012, has been crucial in informing the families and friends of residents about activities happening around the service and how they are empowered to lead an independent life in the community.

Volunteer Syd with his 20 year volunteering present

The Cheshire Patch has been vital during lockdown, with a specially adapted, limited edition Cheshire Chat online version to keep everybody informed and connected.

Syd has consistently and generously given his time and energy to the service on a weekly basis. Having made a real difference to many over the last 20 years, his pleasant and attentive nature helped raise spirits of Cheshire House staff, day service users and residents. Always first to crack a joke, his infectious joviality and light-hearted spirit has been missed during lockdown and restrictions.

Personnel and residents from Cheshire House celebrated his lengthy service with an impromptu doorstep party at Syd’s house, where individuals paid tribute to his exceptional work but also hear his long-awaited speech.

Freda Murray, Service Manager at Cheshire House, said:

“Syd has always been an integral part of the organisation. He’s more than a volunteer – he’s part of the Cheshire House family and everybody adores his upbeat approach to befriending residents at the service.

“Here’s to another 20 years – and we cannot wait to get him back into the service to help with more activities and see the smiles of our day service users and residents in his presence.”

It was only natural that Syd would end up volunteering at Cheshire House someday. He is a man of many talents, from transforming the service garden to making calendars with everyone’s year in pictures. He has racked up hour after hour volunteering, taking part in raft races, pantomimes, baking, boxing, art and modelling. 

Syd Barber said:

“There is a sense of doing something worthwhile, plus it has been fun and I have learned a lot. I suppose it comes down to the old cliché: I’ve made a difference, however small.”

Media enquiries

For further information, high res images or interview requests please contact: Kieran Scott (Communications and Research Officer) at kieran.scott@leonardcheshire.org or 0131 346 9040.