HE is often the first face troubled people see when they look for help.
Ron Hollis volunteers on the front counter of Eynsham police information centre – and has been providing help to those in need for the past 11 years.
Now the 76-year-old, who is also the chairman of the local Neighbourhood Action Group (NAG), has been named Volunteer of the Year in the Thames Valley Police Community Policing Awards 2014.
Mr Hollis, of Falstaff Close, Eynsham, said he started volunteering after he retired as he wanted to “keep busy” and give something back to the community.
The father-of-three, who has been married to wife Eve for 50 years, said: “It is very satsifying to know that you are appreciated and, of course, the whole idea of volunteering is that it helps others and I hope that I do do that.
“I worked overseas for a long time and I wanted to do something for the village.
“I also had retired so I needed something to fill my time, but also do something for the community in which my children were raised.”
Mr Hollis worked in the Middle East in countries such as Oman, Syria and Saudi Arabia, in technical support for companies.
But since his retirement he has helped with a CCTV project – where details of businesses with CCTV in the area are included in a database, to create a log of firms with cameras.
He also assists with Farm Watch visits and crime reduction advice, and spends one day a week at Woodstock station helping with admin for the local Speed Watch scheme.
The grandfather-of-five’s front counter work is based at the information centre at the Village Hall in Back Lane.
Thames Valley Police has been closing front counters across the county as part of a property savings drive.
The Eynsham site is not earmarked for closure, but Mr Hollis believes it is vital for the community.
He said residents regularly use the counter and the most common issues they want to discuss relate to anti-social behaviour and neighbourhood problems.
He added: “A potential closure is always on the back of my mind.
“We are a small community and we are a fairly essential focal point.
“I mean West Oxfordshire is not a crime area, but we do get a lot of people coming in to talk about their feelings and see what we can do to help. And we often point them in the right direction.”
Mr Hollis was presented with his trophy for his role in the village at a special ceremony at Eynsham Hall, on July 15.
The awards recognise neighbourhood policing teams, PCSOs, volunteers and Special Constables.
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