Winner: Debbie Lucking – Croydon Pet Hospital
Debbie Lucking has been volunteering at Croydon Pet Hospital since February and was nominated by Veterinary Nurse Team Leader, Suzanne Wood.
Suzanne said: “Debbie started volunteering with us because her family had all grown up and she had more time on her hands. Since then, she has become a really valuable member of the team, helping out in the kennels, doing the washing and cleaning theatre. She never stops smiling and her happiness is infectious! She is a real ‘people person’, always taking the time to help both clients, who may be worried or upset, and other volunteers. When she does find employment we all hope she’ll be able to continue volunteering with us.”
Retail Volunteer of the Year
Highly Commended: Anthony McCrory - Lisburn Shop
Tony McCrory began volunteering for PDSA over two years ago, following in the footsteps of his wife and son who also help out in the shop.
Speaking about his nomination, Tony said: “I am utterly speechless – I truly believe that I am just a part of a fantastic team of wonderful, hard-working people that care deeply for PDSA. I chose the PDSA for a very personal reason. My son has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder and my wife and I felt that he needed to have more social contact. A friend of the family told us about how she’d volunteered for PDSA and loved it. My wife and son decided to give it a go. The staff and other volunteers there were brilliant with my son and did wonders for his self-confidence and social skills. So in order to thank them for this, I felt the best thing I could do was to offer them my own time. My dad has since joined the volunteer ranks too!”
Veterinary Volunteer of the Year
Highly Commended: Tom Aston – Oldbury Pet Hospital
Tom Aston volunteers two days a week at PDSA’s Pet Hospital in the town, The Marian and Christina Ionescu Centre of Surgical Excellence, assisting clients in the waiting room and keeping the building and its surroundings tidy. Spending most of his time in the reception area, Tom often reassures worried owners and lends an ear to upset clients.
Speaking about his nomination, Tom said: “I feel very humbled to have been nominated for this award. I really enjoy being part of a great team and have been made to feel at home here. One of the best things about volunteering for PDSA is meeting the clients and their pets and seeing the difference the charity makes to their lives.”
Special Achievement of the Year
Winner: Sebastian Drinkwater – Yeovil Shop
Sebastian Drinkwater volunteers six days a week at our Yeovil shop and is a firm favourite with the shop’s customers, missing them dearly when on holiday and, likewise, they ask after him when he isn’t there.
Mary Cain, Shop Manager, nominated Sebastian for the award. She said: “Sebastian is a real support to the whole team here and brings smiles to our faces every day with his positive attitude. Sebastian always takes time to get to know our customers and what they are looking for. A lot of customers have a soft spot for him as a result. Sebastian never lets his autism stop him from excelling at any task and for the past two years he has been single-handedly responsible for driving our Gift Aid programme.”
Sebastian says that he was “staying at home a lot which was unhealthy and thought volunteering would help me get out and make friends too. I like chatting to the customers – it’s very interesting. I also like finding out about their hobbies and work status.”
Highly Commended: Daryl Jenkins – Bristol area Stock Collectors
Daryl Jenkins has volunteered for the charity for 20 years, helping collect donated stock from supporters’ homes to sell at PDSA’s shops in and around Bristol.
Liz Walker, Shop Manager at Thornbury says of Daryl, “I have known Daryl for nearly 14 years and have always found him hard working and friendly; he always does anything asked of him with a wonderful smile on his face! He works on the van with our stock collector and I have received so many nice comments about him. When he’s in the shop with us he sees the funny side of everything and has a wicked laugh.
Speaking about his nomination, Daryl said: “I’m very proud that I’ve been shortlisted for this award. I love animals and had a cat until last year, so I know what a huge difference PDSA makes to the lives of pets and their owners. I really enjoy volunteering, especially getting out and about meeting people.”
Fundraising Achievement of the Year
Highly Commended: Ashford Team
Assistant Manager, Pat Gibbs, who nominated the team, says, “The team here in Ashford have a fantastic mixture of skills and always put our customers’ needs first, taking the time to get to know them and ensuring they feel valued for their support. We have a diverse team of mixed ages, but everyone gets on so well, sharing experience and new ideas.
Area Retail Manager, Graeme Allen, says: “Whenever I contact the store, no matter who answers, you can always feel the smile from the other end of the phone. They seem such a caring and passionate team who obviously enjoy each other’s company. Recently, the shop manager had two weeks holiday and she rang me to ask if it was okay for the volunteers to cover for the fortnight. I asked if she was sure it wasn’t too much for them, but they were adamant they could cope so I agreed. Not only did they cope, but they beat like for like sales during both weeks - a tremendous performance!”