Be a mascot, give talks or help out at fundraising events – these are some of the volunteering opportunities available at Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
As the charity launches a recruitment drive for people who are interested in becoming volunteers, existing volunteers have spoken about the rewarding nature of their roles.
Jeff Vincent, of Amesbury, became a volunteer four years ago and his wife, Phyllis, joined him two years later.
The couple, who are retired, go to community events where they volunteer at the charity’s stand, attend cheque presentations and Jeff gives talks to community groups.
The couple began volunteering after they witnessed the skill and professionalism of a Wiltshire Air Ambulance crew at the scene of a road traffic collision near Marlborough.
Phyllis said: “We both get a buzz from volunteering for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. We feel we are doing something good and in our way we are helping to save someone’s life.”
The charity’s volunteers are called GroundCrew and John Collins, of Trowbridge, became a volunteer four years ago after completing a skydive raising funds for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
He attends community events and is a drop off point for recycled materials such as Tassimo pods and crisp packets for the group Recycling for Wiltshire Air Ambulance.
John, who is self-employed, said: “There are such a variety of events that I have been to and there’s a really good social aspect to volunteering for Wiltshire Air Ambulance. Being a volunteer is fun and you’re giving something back to a great charity.“
Stewart Ackland, of Devizes, has been a volunteer since 2016 and attends community events, mostly as the charity’s paramedic bear mascot, Wilber.
Stewart, who works in IT in Westbury, said: “Interacting with people while I’m Wilber is really rewarding, especially getting smiles from children. When I’m not Wilber it’s great to meet people at the events I volunteer at and talk to them about Wiltshire Air Ambulance and what they can do to help support the charity.”
Roger Heafield, of Cricklade, gives talks about Wiltshire Air Ambulance to community groups and has been a volunteer for seven years.
Roger, a retired IT manager, said: “I give talks to a wide range of groups, including to children as young as four to people in their nineties. My record is five talks in one day! I’m helping to raise awareness of the charity and in my own way, along with the other volunteers, I’m helping to save lives.”
Barbara Sealy, who helps run the family farm in Kington Langley, near Chippenham, has been a volunteer with the charity for 27 years and attends community events and cheque presentations.
“Volunteering for Wiltshire Air Ambulance is the most satisfying job because people want to hear about the charity, donate their money and you meet so many lovely people. It’s a terrific way of getting out and filling your time,” she said.
The charity is looking for new volunteers to do talks, be the teddy bear mascots, attend fundraising events, undertake bucket collections, collect and distribute collection tins. Other volunteering opportunities are available at the charity’s shops in Devizes and Westbury.
Notably the charity has very few volunteers in Amesbury, Bradford-on-Avon and Royal Wootton Bassett.
Cas Loudon, community relationship manager at Wiltshire Air Ambulance, said: “We can’t thank our volunteers enough, we couldn’t do what we do without them. They are absolutely essential to our charity and are all worth their weight in gold. By donating their time they are helping to spread awareness and fundraising which enables our helicopter and crew to continue saving lives.
“We are looking for new volunteers to join us, so if you are interested please contact us by emailing email@example.com or call the charity team on 01225 300536.”