Volunteer Spotlight - Len

Posted byHayley Crymble | Volunteering

We meet Len, who currently a Trading team volunteer and van driver.

Please tell us a little bit about your life outside of BCDH

I’m a happily-retired pensioner with former careers as an IT specialist and as a medical laboratory practitioner. I’m a father of three and a grandfather of seven and am fortunate in that all my family live in or close to Bath, so I see plenty of them all. 

My lifelong interests outside work have been in learning – I have degrees in engineering and humanities and A-levels in maths, physics and languages – and in music – I play a dozen instruments to a modest standard and present a weekly local radio show featuring all genres and decades of popular music. 

I’m also a railways enthusiast and have around a thousand books on railways old and modern. Finally, I’m an enthusiastic amateur photographer and have an A-level in photography! 

How long have you been volunteering at BCDH?

I’ve been a volunteer for around twenty years. I started as a dog walker for a couple of years, but when the Fundraising team first started I got “headhunted” into the office to provide support to the sole staff member, Lisa, on the database, having previously let slip to someone that I’d worked in IT. 

I did that role for around five years but became “redundant” when the team expanded. After a year or so off I responded to an ad for a van driver which took me into the Trading team. The driving role broadened out into the whole range of activities supporting BCDH’s five charity shops, and I’ve been filling that role for the best part of ten years now.

What do you do here?

As a Trading volunteer I spend one day a week sorting donations of clothing, homewares, books and media, bric-a-brac and what-have-you which are dropped into the rehoming centre and preparing these for delivery to the five charity shops in Bath, Bradford-on-Avon, Trowbridge and Frome. I then spend one day a week delivering these goods to the shops and moving other goods between them.

Using specialist knowledge, I also test and repair domestic electrical items which have been donated. Occasionally I perform other jobs requiring a van driver, such as picking up large donated items and, a few years ago now, collecting former battery chickens for rehoming.

Why did you want to volunteer for BCDH?

I’ve always been a volunteer of sorts. When my children were growing up it was mainly getting involved with their activities, as PTA Chair, cycling proficiency instructor, hockey umpire, swimming instructor and scout group secretary. 

When the kids had grown up and my job in the medical lab became part-time, I wanted to find something else charitable to fill the free days. I’ve had a connection with BCDH for almost fifty years as a serial adopter – five dogs and one cat to date – and decided to offer my services there. I’ve always been an animal lover, so BCDH was naturally my favoured charity.

What do you most enjoy about volunteering?

Firstly, having a regular obligatory activity that helps define my week as a pensioner: without it every day would be a Sunday and I’d surely get bored. 

Secondly, the good feeling of putting something back into society, of doing something worthwhile of benefit to others. 

Thirdly, knowing I’m doing something of great value to the animals I love and to the people directly connected with them. 

And finally, working with everybody associated with BCDH – they’re a wonderful bunch. Being a BCDH volunteer has been an enjoyable part of my life for over twenty years and I’ve no intention of stopping while I’m still physically capable of working.

What would you like to say to anyone considering volunteering for BCDH?

If you love animals and you’ve got the time and the inclination, do it. There are a whole range of opportunities for volunteering in all areas of the charity and you’ll get to work with some really good, friendly people. 

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