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Frances Clark wins volunteer award from Prime Minister

Vince Miele (centre) accepts a Prime Minister
Vince Miele (centre) accepts a Prime Minister's award on behalf of Frances Clark.
— image credit: Government of Canada photo

A longtime Richmond advocate for people with disabilities has been honoured for her volunteerism by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Frances Clark is the recipient of a national Lifelong Achievement award from the second Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards. She was honoured at a special ceremony in Toronto Thursday, the prime minister's office announced.

"Volunteers are the lifeblood of communities and organizations across this country. They are selfless and inspiring Canadians who provide their time, energy and experience for no other reason than to promote the well-being of their fellow citizens," said Harper in a statement.

Richmond Centre for Disability chair Vince Miele, accompanied by the centre's executive director Ella Huang, accepted the award on behalf of Clark. As one of two national award winners, Clark will receive a medal and a $10,000 prize.

The awards honour inspiring Canadians from all walks of life who are finding new ways to make a difference in their communities.

Reached Friday, Clark told The Richmond Review said she's simply done the work that has interested her. The award, she said, acknowledges that she has contributed something to the community.

"I just enjoy doing what I was doing. That's my life. I love meetings, I love trying to make a difference."

Clark, a longtime Richmond resident, founded the Richmond Centre for Disability 28 years ago, but her community activism dates farther back.

She was involved in founding a federation of dog clubs to encourage responsible pet ownership.

"That was a charitable society. We managed to change the attitude of a lot of (people)."

Clark was also key to ensuring Richmond Caring Place was actually built, when the project appeared to have gone off the rails before construction.

She has also been a big contributor to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce by attending city council meetings as a civic affairs representative.

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