Wednesday, 26 November 2014

CRUK Campaigns Ambassador Showcase - Phil Wilson

Another Ambassador showcase today, and one I have been wanting to do for a while! I first met Phil at a volunteers conference two years ago. He was friendly, interesting and very clearly passionate about CRUK and the subject of what we can do to beat cancer in general. Phil is one of life's "doers", always updating the rest of us on his antics, which include recently meeting the Prime Minister, and he is one of the very few people I know on very good first name terms with his MP. I hope you find Phil as inspiring as I do when reading this.

What Made You Decide to Volunteer for CRUK?
I had done other volunteering and events for a variety of charities, this included music events, a quiz or two and the Virgin London Marathon.
My partner, the lovely Sarah, had been having treatment for breast cancer  and that was my call to action.
Politically, activity started while I was still training for the London Marathon.
I had flagged up a charity bag fraud in Kent that, following further research, was found to be a national problem costing millions of pounds to genuine charities. After being passed around like a hot potato by Trading Standards, the Police and local licensing departments, I decided to pay a visit to my member of parliament. I am lucky to have a very active MP in the shape of Tracey Crouch. She was far from impressed when she heard about the run-around that I had experienced and she took the baton and ran with it. This culminated with an an adjournment debate in Westminster and a round table debate. I was asked to do radio and TV interviews on the back of these actions(one live on BBC1 lunchtime news!) Scary for most, but having a stammer sort of put the pressure on a tad!
This gave me the bug to help charities in a way that up until then I did not know existed.
I first joined Breakthrough Breast Cancer's CAN team. (Campaigns and Advocacy) I had success, again with the very active Tracey Crouch MP encouraging her to sign up to a couple of Breakthrough's campaigns.
The lovely Sarah started to work for CRUK and when I found out that they also kicked shins in Westminster, I applied to be an Ambassador. They must have been low on the ground because they took me on!!

What sort of things do you do for the charity?
It is surprising the number of people who think putting your hand in your pocket, though much needed, is the only way you can help charities. I have blown balloons up at events, banged in tent pegs, walked a Race for Life course as “The Last Man” making sure everyone has got round. On that particular event in Rochester, the last person was a lady in her late 70s with cancer, still doing her ”bit.”  I kept her company until the last 100 metres and let her walk to the finish with her granddaughter to get all of the applause from the crowd..... yes I cried! (I do a lot of that these days!!)
A couple of years back I was a cycle marshal for Shine. That was an amazing experience (though very tiring) We cycled up and down chosen parts of the route keeping an eye out for any help required or were sent by radio to various parts of the course to assist with extra busy spots keeping walkers safe.
I am an active Ambassador and the role pays me back in spades as I get to meet all kinds of lovely people.

What are your favourite aspects of volunteering for the charity?
This might sound selfish, but personal development. Although as a professional drummer I am confident behind a drum kit, I was shy in crowds and would never speak in public because of my stammer. A major part of my development has been due to my experience at CRUK. I turned “I can't speak in public!” into “What can I do to speak in public for CRUK?” The overall improvement to my voice is a very long story but I now speak as part of my job (presenting drum circles and rhythm events for education and business team building) I have joined the Professional Speaker Association and I have started writing a book about Presenting. None of this would happen without my involvement with CRUK and Breakthrough.
My MP invited me to a gathering of medical experts and charities to meet with David Cameron. When the table was opened for questions my hand was the first up. That would never have happened!
I meet such inspirational people, cleaver people, nice and funny people, plus guess what?? Never once have I met anyone complaining about anything. Not their illness, their job or anything. Perhaps that's a lesson we all need to look at!
I would strongly recommend anyone with any talent (even a talent they think they don't have) to have a go at volunteering. You will help change lives....maybe even your own!

If you're interested in working alongside someone as brilliant as Phil then please click on the link and apply to join our Ambo family!!

Thank you for allowing me to interview you Phil, I feel very privileged to work alongside you!

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