Third Sector Awards 2019: Volunteer of the Year - Debbie White, Fight for Sight

Awarded to the volunteer who has displayed the greatest commitment and achievement to a charity or voluntary sector organisation over the past year

Debbie White
Debbie White

Category sponsored by headline sponsor Markel

Who is she?

Debbie White has been living with Usher Syndrome for more than 40 years. It is a rare genetic disorder that results in a combination of hearing loss and visual impairment. She realises that there might not be a breakthrough in her lifetime to reverse her own sight loss, but she has fundraised for Fight for Sight over the past 25 years to help save the sight of others.

What has she done?

White currently chairs the Fight for Sight Warwickshire Committee, which has raised more than £350,000 to date. Before her sight deteriorated, she was a keen golfer and established the first Fight for Sight Golf Challenge in 1995, alongside former chair Clive Stone. The organisation's 25th annual golf day took place this year, attracting more than 30 corporate and private teams for 18 holes of golf, followed by a three-course meal and an auction.

White also organised Skydive for Sight in 2018, taking part in a jump of more than 10,000 feet with 18 other supporters and raising £22,000. She provided constant support and fundraising inspiration to the other jumpers, harnessing social media to promote the event by profiling some of the participants.

What else has she achieved?

As a community ambassador of Fight for Sight, White is passionate about championing the cause of funding research to prevent sight loss, both organising and attending advocacy events. In 2018 she hosted a Fight for Sight event with Pint of Science, bringing brilliant scientists into her local pub to help others learn about the latest breakthroughs in a relaxed environment.

Highly commended

Bob Lowrie, VICTA Children


Alex Barton, the Children’s Trust

Helen Garrand, PDSA

Becky Hamlet, PDSA

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