Sunderland polio charity champions honoured for 60 years of service

The Sunderland Polio Fellowship held a get together at the Museum and Winter Gardens to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Pictured, from left, are Ted Hill MBE, CEO of the British Polio Fellowship, along with award winners Keith Whickham, who has been a member since 1955,  Beth Waldron, who was presented with an award for a DVD on the group she produced, and Steve Torgensen, who has worked tirelessly for the branch.
The Sunderland Polio Fellowship held a get together at the Museum and Winter Gardens to celebrate its 60th anniversary. Pictured, from left, are Ted Hill MBE, CEO of the British Polio Fellowship, along with award winners Keith Whickham, who has been a member since 1955, Beth Waldron, who was presented with an award for a DVD on the group she produced, and Steve Torgensen, who has worked tirelessly for the branch.
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The Sunderland Branch of the British Polio Fellowship celebrated 60 years of service to those living with the condition on Wearside.

The event at the Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens saw awards handed out to three people who have made special contributions, both to the branch and to a unique exhibition of Polio memorabilia on display.

The British Polio Fellowship’s chief executive Ted Hill MBE attended the event, which was hosted by Shirley Williams, Sunderland branch chairwoman and project team leader on the Polio History exhibition and display at the Winter Gardens.

Mr Hill presented awards to Keith Whickham, Stephen Torgersen and Beth Waldron, who all provided their time, effort and hard work to the Sunderland branch in different ways.

“The outstanding individual contributions these three people have made to our Sunderland branch deserved recognition on the 60th Anniversary of the Branch,” said Mr Hill. “I can’t emphasise enough how grateful myself and the rest of The British Polio Fellowship are for all the valuable and brilliant work they’ve done.

“It was a pleasure to be finally able to see for myself.”

Keith Whickham has been a Sunderland member since 1955 and is a polio survivor. He is director of Gate 7 in Gateshead, which printed, free of charge, all the photographic memorabilia boards for the display at the event.

Stephen Torgersen is a partner in Torgersen Accountants, who carried out the pro-bono book-keeping work.

Stephen’s late father, Paul, was on the committee of the Sunderland branch as treasurer, until he passed away, and Paul’s great work has been carried on by his son Stephen.

Beth Waldron is a volunteer with the Sunderland Branch for the last 10 years and is a Sunderland University undergraduate of photography, journalism and fashion. She carried out the filming and production of a DVD, on display at the exhibition.