A great big Chesham Thank you to …. Dee Atkinson

Dee is a complete star. That’s just how it is.

She is one of the hardest working, most humble, kindest people that I know. Always spotting what needs to be done, always getting on with things, always going the extra mile, always ready to roll up her sleeves. And she does this all cheerfully and with that lovely Dee smile on her face.

Dee has been very involved with Chiltern Foodbank since the early days, and I can remember many a time when she was in what was then our garage for hours on end sorting things out. Then when we moved to the High Street, Dee was involved every step of the way in making the new premises work for Foodbank and more importantly for Foodbank clients.

If we were to count up the number of kilos that she has lifted, weighed, put away, packed into boxes, well, it’s a big number!

Dee we love you very much and we think you are amazing!

And we can’t miss this moment without a much fuller assessment of the amazing Dee by Dave Worrall, Chiltern Foodbank Co-ordinator:

Dee has worked at Chiltern Foodbank since its inception in 2011.  In those early days everyone was a volunteer, without specific roles, but Dee quickly took it upon herself to manage the warehouse – she just couldn’t stand the place being untidy, especially as we were in such a cosy space.  She took on this job with good grace, a warm smile and a lovely sense of humour that immediately won over those of us that don’t have that eye for detail that she possesses and she gently persuaded the less tidy among us to change our ways.  It was almost all down to Dee that the foodbank managed to work with an increasing amount of stock in what seemed to be a decreasing amount of space, and she always found somewhere that an additional crate could be stored.

Dee was a main driver in the transfer of stock from St. Mary’s Church Annexe to 71 Broadway and continued to manage the warehouse from the move in August 2014 to the end of December 2017.  Having visited a number of other foodbanks I am proud that Chiltern Foodbank is far tidier than any other I have visited and Dee is the main person responsible for this.

However, Dee is not only very organised but she is also a human dynamo – she was always the first in at the foodbank, she moved heavy crates and boxes around as if they were feather dusters and has a work ethic that does her native Cumbria proud.  Dee does everything with great modesty always acknowledging the contribution that others have made.  I was often amazed to find Dee, with Ken, tidying the St. Mary’s churchyard in the afternoon after her morning session at the foodbank.  Just where here does she find her energy?

For some time Dee always said that she preferred to be in the background, organising rather than being at the front of shop with clients.  However, when she eventually was persuaded to meet and speak to clients she was a natural.  Her easy charm, great compassion and empathy immediately put clients at ease and she is a role model for anyone that meets those in the community that are struggling and need a listening ear.

Although Dee has stood down from managing the Chiltern Foodbank warehouse we are delighted that she continues to come in on Wednesday mornings as a team leader that meets clients when they come to the foodbank.  She is a blessing to them and well as to her colleagues.  Thank you, Dee.

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