Elizabeth Mills OBE, an independent consultant helping charities working with older people, said: “I read with awe about all the work that CUPP does. Congratulations on the wonderful achievement of 10 years.”
Elizabeth, who has taken part in several government consultations and has chaired a public sector advisory body, was speaking after being awarded an honorary Doctor of Science for services to ageing research and leadership in the voluntary sector, at the university's summer graduation ceremonies.
She said: "CUPP finds volunteers or trustees for local community projects. Work Write Live – sharing life stories is one of those projects. Residents of a local care home shared their memories with students.
"Older people's life stories are the bedrock of the scientific study of old age – gerontology. Probably without realising it, all the participants in Work Write Live were gerontologists for a little while. Bringing young and old together like that has always been a passion of mine."
She said: "The more you give to others, the more you will gain for yourself. Volunteering has been central to my life since I was about seven – helping at the local village flower show, organising the children's miniature garden competition."
Elizabeth has spent her whole life volunteering – as a Samaritan, prison visitor, school governor, chair of a local residents' association and as a trustee of several charities: "The one thing all these have in common is that I have gained a great deal more than I have given."
Elizabeth Mills OBE at summer graduation
He said: "The last 200 years have seen scientific progress alter both the scale and the patterning of human mortality in a way which is unique in our history as a species. At the dawn of the 21st century we can look forward to the first human civilisation in which old people will outnumber children. The Chief Executive of the medical research charity Research into Ageing for 11 years, Elizabeth was presented by Professor Richard Faragher, the university's professor of biogerontology and assistant head of the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences.
"For so many men and women to have lived so long is a magnificent achievement and should be celebrated but it also throws up problems which mankind has never before encountered. Few have done more to encourage us to rise to these challenges than Elizabeth Mills. None have combined such many sided energy with such an unceasing commitment to the public good."