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New patron of Victim Support 8 July 2008

A WELL-KNOWN tribunal chairman and JP has been appointed as the new patron of Victim Support in the Isle of Man.

Mrs Rosemary Penn MBE brings a wealth of experience to the role having worked as a magistrate in addition to serving as the Island’s Police Complaints Commissioner for four years. She follows in the footsteps of distinguished former patrons Sally Macfadyen, wife of past Lieutenant Governor Ian Macfadyen, and Susan Knowles, wife of the former Bishop of Sodor and Mann.

Mrs Penn, who is also chairman of the Financial Supervision Commission, said:

‘Victim Support fulfils an extremely important function within the community and its workload has increased dramatically in recent times. I have witnessed the consequences of crime in my professional capacity through my work with the police and the courts. I hope to continue the excellent work of my predecessors to help a cause that is very close to my heart’.

Victim Support, which receives an annual contribution from the Department of Home Affairs, helps local residents to cope with the effects of crime by providing confidential advice and information. It comforts people who have lost a family member as a result of a road accident or suicide and also offers assistance to witnesses in court hearings.

The wide ranging services are independent of the police and judiciary and because no fees are charged the organisation relies heavily on its fundraising activities. Its main event, the popular Essentially Dancing competition at the Villa Marina, this year raised more than £6,000.

One of the more poignant moments during the contest was the screening of a video interview with a local mother who had lost her son in a road accident. The bravery in which she bore this loss was an inspiration to everybody in the audience and brought home the anguish suffered by many people who turn to Victim Support for help.

Minister for Home Affairs Martyn Quayle MHK said:

‘Victim Support provides an extremely valuable service and can be a tremendous source of comfort to people who are experiencing great emotional distress. I am sure that Mrs Penn will excel in her new role and that her considerable experience will greatly benefit the organisation.’

The appointment was also warmly welcomed by the manager of Victim Support Paula Gelling who leads a team of hard-working volunteers. She said:

‘Mrs Penn will be a fantastic ambassador for Victim Support in the Isle of Man and I look forward to working alongside her. The volume of work we deal with has risen considerably over the past 18 months and our volunteers continue to do a sterling job in the community. The assistance from the Department of Home Affairs and the generosity of the Manx public in supporting fundraising events such as Essentially Dancing is also very much appreciated as this helps us to offer our services free of charge.’

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