Selena Furth, a volunteer with Oxford Samaritans, has been recognised for her work by an Oxfordshire Community and Voluntary Action Award for 2017 which was presented by the High Sherriff of Oxfordshire at Oxford Town Hall on May 9th.
The citation stated: ‘ Selena’s regular presence at the branch supporting people who might be feeling distress and despair has been consistent and utterly reliable, but she has done it in such a low key way that you might easily miss its enormous value to both our troubled callers and to her fellow volunteers. She always arrives on time on her bike, whatever the weather, and is dismissive of any surprise or concern if it is pouring down or blowing a gale.
Her calm and unruffled approach to life belies an utter commitment to the needs of those who contact us. Selena’s background – not known to the majority of her fellow Samaritans – was working for many years in Africa, caring for sick and needy people in remote and difficult places. We can assume this experience of living on little in the way of creature comforts, and dedicating her life to the needs of people with next to nothing, has quietly transferred to her approach to Samaritan volunteering.
Her achievement is all the more impressive because it is unsung, least of all by Selena herself. We are used to measuring success today by what people have done, and by seeing and admiring the visible evidence of those deeds. Because Selena appears to be modest and unassuming does not mean she is without passion. Beneath that deceptively calm surface lies a steely commitment to the needs of people for whom life may no longer be worth living. They – and we – can be incredibly grateful for what she has given to people both locally in and around Oxford, and to the wider community who call Samaritans every six seconds of every day of the year.’