Rachel is honoured by the Princess Royal

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A woman from Eastbourne has been praised by the Princess Royal for her dedicated work to Victim Support.

Rachel Darbyshire was given a Ten Year Milestone Award from Her Royal Highness during a ceremony in London last Thursday.

Mrs Darbyshire, who lives in Hide Hollow, began volunteering for the service when she moved to Eastbourne from Dorking.

“We came down to Eastbourne and I heard an advert asking for people to help out and volunteer for the witness service and victim support locally and I wanted to give it a go. I haven’t looked back since.”

She said she had an enjoyable day meeting the princess and meeting other volunteers on Thursday.

The Princess Royal presented Victim Support’s Milestone awards to 14 outstanding volunteers and staff from Surrey and Sussex at the Ramada Plaza.

The Princess spent the afternoon handing out awards to Victim Support volunteers who had been giving up their free time for the charity for more than 10 years.

Maralyn Smith, divisional manager for Victim Support Surrey and Sussex, said, “Our volunteers do such an amazing job of helping victims and witnesses of crime through a tough time.

“Having HRH presenting them with Milestone Awards is such a rewarding way to have their efforts recognised.”

The Milestone awards were part of Victim Support’s Surrey and Sussex Divisional Volunteer and Staff Conference.

The day covered talks on different restorative approaches with speaker Peter Woolfe who talked about how the process of restorative justice helped him stop offending.

Altogether 48 Victim Support volunteers and staff received Milestone awards on the day and met The Princess Royal.

Being a victim or witness of crime can be traumatic and leave long lasting scars. Last year Victim Support helped 40,022 victims of crime in Surrey and Sussex.

Victim Support is the leading charity for people affected by crime, offering help to over 1 million people every year.

Restorative justice is a new approach that gives victims of crime the chance to tell the offender how their criminal behaviour has affected them, and for the offender to apologise.

Victim Support has trained staff and more than 5,500 volunteers offering free and confidential information, support and practical help to anyone affected by crime, whether or not it has been reported and regardless of when it happened.

The national charity also runs the Witness Service and the Victim Supportline.