Monday, 3 June 2013

Guest Post: Andy Millin – Why I Volunteer

Andy is one of my fellow Cancer Research UK Campaigns Ambassadors. He is always full of very interesting information and is very supportive of us all. He is a wonderful part of the group. He recently won an award at the annual Flame of Hope Awards, which is hugely well deserved and he attended the Queen’s garden party which is very glamorous and exciting!

Andy very kindly wrote a guest post for the blog as he knows I’ve been struggling to find the time to write recently. It’s a lovely piece of writing and really conveys what is means to be a volunteer for CRUK. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Thank you Andy!

I started volunteering for Cancer research back in 2000, when there was a radio shout out for help at the first Race for Life in Swindon. Living within walking distance of the park (it`s quicker to walk than drive) I thought I could go along and see what this new event was and help on the day. Having local knowledge of the park, I got involved with directing marshals to their designated points, and then taking control of a key crossover point on the course.

I remember the event as being pretty basic, compared to events today, but very enjoyable, meeting some great people, and enabling the women to enjoy their first ever race in Swindon. 2001 was pretty much the same, just helping out at the local event.

Things started to change in 2002 when I was asked if I could help at another event in Salisbury.
Since then I`ve been to many great events, Swindon, Salisbury, Newbury, Marlborough, Blenheim Palace, Dorney Lake, Bowood House, Longleat to name a few of the early ones.

For the last 5 years a small team of key volunteers have formed who follow an event manager to all of her events, between  8-10 per year, and also promotional work beforehand. It`s great to be part of such a team and the friendships that have developed over time are valued and exist outside of events.
This year, I will be helping to stage Swindon *2 , Cirencester, Gloucester, Cheltenham *2, Hereford and Worcester events…compared to other years, that’s a bit quiet, and I may need to find something else to do in the summer months

So, what do I do?  Well promotional work can be anything from looking after a stand, giving out promo information, to arranging and taking part in a Zumba flashmob to promote Race launch. Event days will see us on site, usually 5 am, often in a cold damp field, to set up and have everything ready for participants when they arrive. To date, I`ve done every job on event day, except the event managers role, so roles can vary dependant on what needs doing. The Race happens (that`s the easy bit), then we either have to clear down all the site, or freshen it up in the lunch break if there is a second event. There`s also local fundraising events, and last year, after about 4 months of saying I would, I joined the Cancer Research Campaign Ambassadors group.

Why do I give up this time? I`m lucky, I have no direct family who have been touched by Cancer, but I know many people who have. My greatest achievement….to see just one more sign on a participant that says ” I race for me..I survived” Even if it`s only one, my time has been well spent, but we are seeing a lot more survivors, so the work is paying off. Will I be back next year…YOU BET!!!!

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