10:50AM, Friday 01 November 2013
Cynics had a field day when the Royal Borough's own volunteer centre was first set up in 1997.
But its manager Fiona Winrow has had the last laugh.
This week she recalled those early days, saying: "They said it would never last but we have survived four prime ministers."
The Mayor of Windsor and Maidenhead Cllr Andrew Jenner joined guests who gathered at the Castle Hotel in Windsor. They came to say goodbye to the woman who has provided thousands of would be volunteers with the ideal opportunity to use their talent.
Fiona, who lives in Hatch Lane, Windsor, said: "We have 400 vacancies at any one time from 500 organisations that need help - we manage to make 380 to 400 connections each year.
"The most satisfying thing is when someone comes to us who lacks confidence but over two years you see how they have blossomed. It is all a matter of matching the right volunteer with the right organisation."
Since starting up, the organisation has changed its name to Windsor and Maidenhead Voluntary Action and moved to Sheet Street - but it has continued to provide vital support to the town's many charities and organisations under Fiona's watch.
The grandmother-of-two has lived in Windsor 30 years and was assistant manager at Hammicks book shop as well as a magistrate at the town's old court following a career in local government - working as careers officer at Stratford and East Ham.
Now she is looking forward to taking it easy.
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