The 2016 recipient of the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award, Allan Ridley was a volunteer extraordinaire. He was someone who went above and beyond in helping his community, not asking for anything in return. He was truly loved by everyone, even after he left this world for everything that he created and the legacy he leaves behind.
Allan was an inspiration, his volunteerism began early in his life when he volunteered for A Youth Club back in England. The legacy of giving back to the community was something Allan brought with him when he and his family moved to Canada. Allan was not only volunteering for various executive boards, he was also helping out his community directly. One of his favorite volunteer opportunities was with the Senior Games. His efforts to help seniors with transportation started with the Senior Games and continued well beyond the Games. Allan kept thinking of ways to ensure there was accessibility for all seniors, whether it was by trying to secure shuttle buses to the hospital to and from senior centres, or securing better hospital parking.
Denise Ridley, Allan’s daughter believes that her father had a heart of gold and he stood for issues and people when it really mattered. She said, “Volunteering was important to him, it took up a lot of his time but was something that he just had to do. Volunteering made him feel purposeful, that he could make a difference for the community, for the people and for the families.”
Allan’s lifelong dream was to improve the quality of life for everyone, especially, seniors. He was a community planner and believed that seniors could add lots of value when it came to consultations on community centre builds and other public buildings. He was also an advocate to repurpose public buildings with seniors in mind.
Denise said that her father always told her that volunteering opens up new avenues for you, “You get an enormous sense of purpose for yourself when you do something good for someone else. It not only helps to build the community, it makes you more compassionate and empathetic.”
There is a proverb in Greek which indicates that a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
Allan Ridley truly lived this proverb, volunteering and building his community so that future generations could reap the benefits. Allan, certainly left plenty of shade for us to enjoy.
Thank you Allan! May you rest in peace.