September 30th, 2016

Tributes flood in for a dedicated Solihull volunteer

TRIBUTES have flooded in for a charity stalwart who dedicated her life good causes across the borough.

Cynthia Leonard, whose determination to help Silhillians became a lifelong passion, has died at the age of 94.

She was made an MBE in 1999 for her services to the Voluntary sector and championed a number of charities across the borough including Age UK, The Samaritans and Stroke Club, for the vast majority of her adult life.

Cynthia died on June 6 at at Swallows Meadow Nursing Home and was said to have “kept her razor sharp mind and great humour right up to the end of her long life.”

Up until just 18 months ago, Cynthia was still an active volunteer and she remained vice-chairman of Age UK Solihull and Solihull Care Housing and a member of the Samaritans until her death.

The daughter of a Colonel in the army, Cynthia grew up in India and was a nurse in Selly Oak during the Second World War.

Over the years her passion to help others grew.

She was very active in the church and helped get groups such as Young Wives off the ground.

The mother-of-one was the driving force behind the formation of the Solihull branch of the Samaritans in 1974 and Victim Support in 1981 and she helped set up Age Concern, now Age UK in the borough.

Tributes for Cynthia have flooded in describing the work she got up to and how she helped people over time.

Leading the tributes her son Michael said: “My mum was an exceptional lady who dedicated her life to serving the people of Solihull.

“My family and I are completely devastated by her passing but are immensely proud of the work she has done and the number of lives she has touched and supported.”

Anne Hastings, Age UK CEO, said Cynthia would be very much missed by Trustees, Staff and Volunteers at Age UK Solihull.

She added: “She had a wonderful sense of humour, was a forward thinker and could always be relied upon to offer sensible advice.

“She was highly respected by the Trustees she served with and it has been my personal honour to work with her.”

Coun Joe Tildesley, portfolio holder for Education, Skills and Culture said he had the pleasure to meet Cynthia a number of times during his period as Mayor in 2013/14.

He added: “She was an inspiration to many and her work for both Age Concern and then Age UK helped many hundreds of Solihull residents.

“That she was still involved in charity work almost up to the time she passed away is an example to us all.

“Cynthia was more than just a fundraiser, she was a wonderful human being who achieved so much in her life and the award of national recognition was richly deserved.

“I know how very proud she was of all her family and indeed how much Solihull meant to her.

“Solihull has lost a true friend and a wonderful ambassador. She will be greatly missed.”

Cynthia’s funeral will be held at St Thomas Church in Hockley Heath at 11am on Friday, July 3.

Family flowers only, but any donations to The Gurka Trust would be warmly received and can be made through the funeral directors – Thomas Bragg, 562 Stratford Road, Shirley, or online at www.justgiving.com/cynthialeonard94

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