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30 August 2023

Volunteer Randy receives King's Honour

Volunteer Randy receives King’s Honour

A 98-year-old volunteer who has devoted almost 30 years of his life to St Michael’s Hospice in Hereford has been honoured by the King.

Ernest Randolph Langford – affectionately known as ‘Randy’ – was described as “a bit of a legend” and an “incredible force” after being presented with his Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) medal.

The accolade was in recognition of his sterling work picking up collecting tins for St Michael’s for the last three decades.

The medal was presented to him by the Lord-Lieutenant of Herefordshire, Edward Harley CBE, during a special ceremony at St Michael’s in Bartestree.

Randy told those attending that he found the role very rewarding, adding he was delighted to be supporting St Michael’s.

“It’s a place for which the citizens of Herefordshire can be justly proud,” he said.

Over the last 30 years, Randy has helped bring around £400,000 into St Michael’s by picking up tins from schools, places of work and community centres across Herefordshire.

This figure has been boosted by the sale of festive Hospice Christmas badges, distributed countywide.

At any one time, Randy has more than 200 Hospice tins in shops and workplaces across Hereford and beyond, and there are a number of willing volunteers who help him out.

During the ceremony where Randy received his BEM, Kay Garlick, a Deputy Lieutenant of Herefordshire and St Michael’s Hospice Trustee, described Randy as “a bit of a legend”.

“He is an example of a local community volunteer who goes out of his way to help others through practical actions,” she said.

The Hospice’s Chief Executive, Mike Keel, described him as an “incredible force”.

Randy was one of the first to be recognised in what was King Charles’ first-ever Birthday Honours list.

Among those to nominate him was the Hereford-based Probus Club of which he is a member.

Randy’s collecting journey began in the early 1990s following a chat with John Caiger, then a member of the Hospice’s Development Trust.

He asked Randy whether he would be interested in picking up collection tins from shops and workplaces, but Randy found precious little in the way of collecting tins – particularly full ones – early on.

“I phoned John, told him things weren’t good, and asked if I could use my initiative and take the tins into some new places, which he agreed to,” said Randy.

The rest, as they say, is history and Randy regularly brings dozens of full tins back to the Hospice’s Fundraising team office.

Anyone interested in keeping a collection tin at their shop, business or place of work should call the St Michael’s Hospice Events and Community team on 01432 851000.

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