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Remembering volunteers we lost in 2015

Posted on 19/01/2016

Sadly, last year we lost some fantastic volunteers. Two of those were Carol Langlands in the North of England, and Stephanie Bromley in the South West.  Both made a huge contribution to our work and had a massive impact locally and nationally. They will be sorely missed by us all, but their legacy and influence will live on as we take inspiration from them to continue the work they were so passionate about.

Carol Langlands 1953 –2015

Photo: L-R Sandra Welburn and Carol Langlands.

Sandra Welburn, Regional Volunteer Manager in the North and Carol’s sister, shared some words with us:

“On September 5 2015 Action on Hearing Loss in Northumberland, lost one of it’s beloved volunteers. Carol Langlands was 62 when she died so she was very young and it was very sudden, this shocked everyone who knew her. Carol was a typical forthright Geordie who called a spade a spade, she enjoyed very much the time she spent volunteering. She thought of it as helping people get through the loneliness of hearing loss.

Carol volunteered with us because she has a husband who has a significant hearing loss and thought it would be good to obtain an insight into his world. She was very isolated living in a built up area with only her extended family living near by. She only went out to shop with her husband as she felt afraid to go out on her own. Carol was very nervous on her first meeting with the other volunteers, she never spoke and did not really make eye contact. However, I have sat in wonder and watched her bloom. Carol grew into a fantastic volunteer who in her own quiet way got things done.

Carol and her colleague Lindsey held a regular information stand at the Freeman Hospital, which is the hub for audiology in the North of Tyne area. Carol knew many people who visited the audiology department and was popular with all the staff. Carol was a loved volunteer and a good friend, she had many many people at her funeral and we all miss her very much. She will be a hard act to follow.”

And some more words from another volunteer and friend, Andy Griffin:

“We were saddened to learn of the sudden death of Carol, a friend and long-serving volunteer. Carol was a loyal supporter and spent many hours at her presentation stand offering advice and information to the public. Carol was funny, forthright and liked by all her colleagues. Carol was the much-loved sister of Sandra Welburn, Action on Hearing Loss Regional Volunteer Manager.  She was a genuine character and will be missed by all who knew her."

Stephanie Bromley 1945 – 2015

Some words from Stephanie’s volunteer manager, Karen Squire:

"Stephanie became a volunteer with us in 2008 as part of a lottery funded project for Outreach Information in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

Having had her own life severely affected by hearing loss she saw volunteering as an opportunity to help re-build her confidence and to also help others similarly affected; which she did splendidly.

Initially Stephanie covered Information Stands and quickly became popular at the venues she attended and with other volunteers and organisations she worked with.  After a successful cochlear implant operation her confidence grew more and she branched out into doing talks; there was no stopping her now!!

Stephanie had an abundance of energy; a very positive outlook and a can do approach.  She took on the task of approaching local organisations and following up leads which led to further talks and donations.  She was a great campaigner against inequality and a great educator.  The latter meant she was willing to challenge people at all levels about their lack of knowledge about the impact of hearing loss.  Locally this led to her delivering a number of sessions for clergy (her local church has an excellent loop system, which was noted by volunteer colleagues who attended her funeral); working with other volunteers to deliver sessions to local GP surgeries and local entertainment venues.

She had a very full life and brought all her experience from that, along with a mischievous sense of humour to her work as a volunteer, she has left an amazing legacy of work and will be very much missed by all who knew her.

Stephanie’s funeral was amazing – a perfect balance of sorrow and celebration and I learnt so many things about her life which had been a very full one.  I’m just sad now that I don’t have the chance to talk to her about some of it or to tell her about my adventures in New Zealand, as she had encouraged me to do the journey.  The church was standing room only with about 250 people attending, she was a person who kept in touch with so many others and was admired and loved by them all.

It really makes you think about what’s important – so she continues to inspire me to get on with life!!"

Continuing their work

Jane Bailey, Head of Volunteering said "Both Stephanie and Carol are dearly missed. They did so much for us and were so committed. I feel the best way to honour them and celebrate all they did for us, is to continue the work they were so passionate about and do all we can to make a difference."

You can contact the Volunteering Development Team on 01273 840960 or by email at


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