5 July 2018

A retired doctor from Holywell in North Wales who now volunteers with Beanstalk has been named in the Birthday 2018 Honours List to receive an MBE in recognition for his services to the local community.

Dr Venu Prasad, who is well respected and liked in the local area, was a GP at the Holywell Practice for 29 years and retired in March last year. Shortly after retiring he became involved as a volunteer with Beanstalk, a national reading charity, helping children at a local primary school with reading.

“I am overjoyed, greatly honoured and truly humbled to receive the news of my MBE,” said Venu.“My patients at my beloved practice are thrilled and as one lady said, “You have put our small town of Holywell on the map”.

“What I’ve enjoyed the most about general practice was the continuity of care and getting to know families. I’ve treated babies, and then gone on to treat their babies. You get to know your patients, earning their trust and respect. I’ve always believed that if you do your best, people appreciate it."

In his time as a GP Venu has formed strong attachments to the people of Holywell and this care and commitment only evolved following retirement when he became a Beanstalk reading helper at a local primary school.

“Shortly after my decision to retire, while taking my daughter to work, I mentioned to her that I really wanted volunteer and in particular to work with children helping support their education. My daughter did a quick search online and found Beanstalk, which sounded ideal for me. In fact, I actually had my interview with Beanstalk the day after I retired!

I started in a local primary school in July following my training and was allocated three children to support each week. I can honestly say it has been the most wonderful experience so far. I am now at the stage where the children are getting to know me and look forward to seeing me and I equally look forward to the time I spend with them.

One of the little girls I have been helping had been saying to me since the start of our sessions, "I don't like reading". So, the first four weeks I read to her, while she listened. Gradually she started to read too until one day, at the end of a session, she turned and said to me "I like reading now!"

The school I help at is extremely supportive and all the staff make me feel part of their team. From coming from a medical background it is a completely new challenge for me, but one I really enjoy and I would highly recommend it to anyone with the time and inclination to do it.”

Recently Venu met with award-winning TV historian and Beanstalk Ambassador Dan Snow who was in the area for his tour of ‘An evening with the History Guy’. Dan presented Venu with tickets to see his show which were part of a competition prize kindly donated to Beanstalk by Dan.

Christine Braithwaite, Area Manager for Beanstalk North West, said:

“We are absolutely over the moon to see Venu recognised for his dedication to the community of Holywell. At Beanstalk we are so lucky to have a volunteer like Venu who has accepted a completely new challenge and made such an impact in such little time. The MBE is so well deserved and all the team at Beanstalk are so thrilled for him.”

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with Beanstalk please visit our volunteering pages.