Billingshurst man’s ‘special MBE’ for 50 years volunteering

The Jane Ross Blind Club SUS-140515-143530001
The Jane Ross Blind Club SUS-140515-143530001

Members of the Jane Ross Club for visually impaired people in Leatherhead awarded a Billingshurst man a ‘special MBE’ for his commitment to their club on Wednesday May 7 at Parish Church Hall, Church Road, Leatherhead.

John Webber, now 79 years old, has run this social club in Leatherhead for 50 years. Once a month he travels from his home in Billingshurst to Surrey to run this club.

In attendance at this 50th anniversary event were club members, some of whom joined in 1964, voluntary helpers, officials from Seeability (formally Leatherhead School for the Blind) and SAVI (Surrey Association for the Visually Impaired - now Sight for Surrey.

Entertainment was be provided by about 30 members of the Newdigate and Beare Green Choir, who have been providing entertainment once a year for some 45 years. Plus three generations of the Webber family.

The club was started up with money from selling rhubarb out of Jean and John Webber’s garden when they were newly wed. These proceeds and further fundraising launched off the first social club for blind people in Leatherhead, in memory of Miss Jane Ross.

In addition to this voluntary work, John weekly visits people on behalf of Age UK and visually impaired people in West Sussex.

His daughter Carrie Cort said: “I put dad forwardsfor an MBE a few years ago, but unfortunately we were unsuccessful.

“I think he definitely deserves an MBE for his long term voluntary commitment to elderly and visually impaired people.

“The members were so excited about issuing him with their own special MBE,” she continued.

For more information about this social club please contact John Webber on 01403 782821.

Report and picture contributed by Carrie Cort.