A Burnley woman devoted to her church and charity work who looked after the children of the Saudi Arabian royal family has been recognised for her commitment with an award.
Heather Slater (72), of Glen View Road, Burnley, was presented with a prize by Accrington-based charity AAWAZ for her voluntary work at St Peter’s Church.
Born and brought up in Burnley, Heather was first taken to St Peter’s at the tender age of six weeks. Since then she has been a regular member of the congregation and continues to raise funds for the church through giving talks to various groups about her life and organising fund-raisers such as car boot sales.
Despite her obvious pride of her home town, Heather has travelled extensively and spent several years abroad.
After leaving school she worked as a house matron in boys’ boarding schools for around 10 years before her mother’s ill health brought her back to Burnley.
She trained as a telephonist with the Post Office and worked at Lucas for 13 years.
But her real passion was caring for children and in the 1990s Heather got a job caring for the children of a Saudi prince. She also spent a year in Indonesia where she looked after the children of an Indonesian/Chinese family.
She has been a member of Burnley Golf Club since 1970 where she was twice made captain and four years ago she became an honorary life member.
Heather, who also sits on Burnley’s Mayoress’s Committee, was nominated for the AAWAZ award by friend Dawn Elliott.
“I was really surprised to get the award. When they started talking at the awards ceremony I realised they were talking about me.”
It was after retiring that Heather really stepped up her voluntary and charity work. Last year she raised £1,000 for the Mayoress’s Committee and £500 for the gold club’s captain’s charity. She has previously organised for a group of women from Burnley Golf Club to complete a sponsored walk across Morecambe Bay. She has also walked St Cuthbert’s Way, from Melrose in Scotland to Holy Island in Northumberland to help raise £1,000 for St Peter’s Church.
She can often be found making jam and marmalade to sell at church events, running a bonus ball charity for the golf club’s lady captain’s charity or a 100 club for church.
She also finds the time to play golf a couple of times a week and has recently started selling items at car boot sales to raise extra funds for St Peter’s all while travelling around Lancashire and further afield giving her talks.
Asked where she finds the time she said: “I just take every day as it comes. I have to plan my days. There’s a lady who lives across the road and I always ask her if she wants anything if I’m going shopping.
“One Christmas Day there was a woman at the golf club who said she would be on her own. I had been invited out for Christmas Day but on Boxing Day I cooked a turkey breast and took her round a plate of food.”
Her friend Dawn added: “Although Heather is in her seventies you would not think so with all her energy. Heather always finds time for her friends. If anyone is unwell she will visit them in hospital or at their home. Heather always checks on some of her neighbours who are not as mobile to make sure they are safe and well.”