2016 Charity ambassador.

These people are long standing volunteers, charity fundraisers and organisers.

Matt Hodgson – Bowel Cancer UK supporter

I was diagnosed with an advanced stage of bowel cancer in October 2014 and am undergoing continued treatment for the disease. Since 2015 I have worked with Bowel Cancer UK to fundraise; primarily for a London to Paris Cycle Challenge that five friends and I completed in April 2016, been involved in awareness campaigns inside and outside work and shared my own experiences.

Luke Squires of Bowel Cancer UK says: "We are lucky to have so many wonderful individuals supporting Bowel Cancer UK, but Matt is someone who really stands out as a champion for the charity in so many ways.

When Matt contacted us in August 2015 and we found out he was not only going through treatment for bowel cancer, but was deep in the process of recruiting a team to join him on the challenge of cycling from London to Paris in April this year, we were enormously impressed and grateful in equal measure. In the run up to the challenge he and his fellow cycle champions undertook a range of innovative fundraising activities.

Matts Colleague says "he’s maintained a positive attitude in everything his does – work life, family life and charity work. He was 37 when diagnosed and has a wife and 2 young children”.

Raidah Alam – BAWSO, Advice and support for black and minority ethnic people in wales

I was a victim of a forced marriage in August 2013 which led me to run away from home and Bawso helped save my life.

I received guidance on how to leave home and how to rebuild my life with my then 15 year old sister. The support I received from them really helped me, so I wanted to give something back and became a volunteer.

I’m currently in a forum with BAWSO and I not only do public speaking to raise awareness but also help with mentoring other young girls who have left their forced marriages and are now estranged from their families. Each week I help at the women’s workshops where they help women with basic life skills e.g. how to fill out forms, how to apply for financial support, how to apply for qualifications, reading and writing skills, handling money and how to live on a budget. I also support women 1:1 if they have just run away from a forced marriage proving practical and emotional support.

We are always looking for volunteers to help raise the awareness of Bawso and the great work that they do. We do this by having Open days at the Bawso Centre in Cardiff bay, where we invite people to come along to find out what the charity does and how they help people. There is also a face book page where people are invited to events.

Tom Foord – South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team

I’ve been involved in cave exploration as a pursuit for over 20 years, during which time I have developed a wealth of knowledge and experience in the safe negotiation of underground environments.

The team is made up of around 160 unpaid volunteers, including 8 wardens. Our remit is to carry out search and rescue operations in underground environments across the whole of South and Mid Wales. I am currently a rescue team member and also a team warden.

The team’s purpose is to carry out search and rescue operations in underground environments such as caves and disused mines. We are an entirely volunteer based team which acts on behalf of the local Police authorities and we can be called out anytime day and night. A typical rescue operation will last for many hours, and sometimes even days.

Rescues are often highly physically demanding, as well as technically and logistically difficult. As a warden I hold the additional responsibility of being one of the team’s primary contacts for initiating a rescue. On receiving a request for help it is then my job to assess the situation, coordinate the teams’ initial response, and call out suitable individuals and resources for the task in hand. Once everything is in place I then hand over to the on-site controller and join the underground rescue team.

I generally carry out several hours of work for the team in the evenings every week, ranging from general admin work to more specific tasks such as the creation of search plans and equipment test plans. I am also occasionally required to give up large chunks of my weekends in order to attend various meetings and events around South Wales, and occasionally farther afield.

Liam Anderson – Set up his own charity Happy home for children of Nepal following their divesting earthquake

I have been travelling to Nepal since 2002, when I taught English as a volunteer. When the country was devastated by the April 2015 earthquake I decided that I had to do something to help. I wanted to raise money to support people directly on the ground, but I found this very difficult due to the nature and scale of the disaster.

I raised £1,200 over the space of a few weeks and donated the proceeds to the Disasters Emergency Committee Nepal Earthquake Appeal. I decided that the best way for me to have control over exactly where any money I raised would be going was to establish a charity myself. Raise Funds for Nepal became a registered charity in September 2015.

I raise money to fund and maintain orphanages in a number of locations in Nepal. My aim is to help provide a stable base for orphaned and displaced children to get better access to healthcare and education in a safe environment, where they can live, grow and develop, free from violence, exploitation and abuse. I am currently fundraising to help support an orphanage build project in Pokhara, Nepal called Happy Home. When completed, Happy Home will accommodate approximately 20 children.

Over the summer my partner Karen and I climbed the equivalent height of Mount Everest by Munro (a Munro is a Scottish mountain over 3,000 feet). In total we climbed 11 Munros and covered 8,867 metres or 29,091 feet from sea level. We raised over £3,000 for the Happy Home project.

I would encourage everyone to visit Nepal at least once in their lifetime. Nepal is a fantastic, beautiful country where the people are wonderful and extremely friendly. As a tourist, every penny you spend would help Nepal slowly recover from last year’s earthquake.

A colleague quotes “A truly inspirational individual is Liam Anderson a committed and loyal L&G Employee someone who is always willing to go that extra mile for others less fortunate to make their lives and surroundings a much better and safe place to live”.

Peter Naylor – Home from Hospital helper for Age UK, Trustee for Asthma UK and fundraiser for Stroke

Following the sad loss of my Mum who lived on her own and often felt lonely and isolated, I decided to volunteer for Age UK to help support the elderly. I volunteer on a regular basis as a ‘Home and Hospital Visitor’.

My role involves visiting the elderly who live on their own and feel very lonely and isolated with no relatives nearby or friends that visit. I find the voluntary role thoroughly rewarding as I’ve been shocked how many elderly people live on their own and don’t see anyone on a week to week basis. The elderly look forward to my regular visits and are always happy to see me. They enjoy sharing their experiences and I often hear about the challenges they faced during World War 2.

I’ve studied counselling at evening classes in order to help enhance my listening skills so I can provide support during my visits. I also help Age UK West Sussex on a Sunday once a month at a local church hall, providing a roast lunch and entertainment for a group of elderly people.

A colleague’s quotes “Peter was himself resuscitated in casualty after a major asthma attack in 2010. To help support others with the condition, Peter volunteers for Asthma UK. He sits on a ‘Board of Volunteers’ who meet every quarter along with representatives from Asthma UK and provides feedback to the charity from the perspective of people who are living with asthma on a daily basis.”

Peter has even found time to raise funds during the last year for the Stroke Association - in memory of his late Mother. He overcame his fear of heights by taking part in the highest free fall abseil in the UK at the London Olympic Park and raised around £1000.

It is no surprise to me that Peter wants to help others; what did surprise me though was just how much he does. I think his contribution to the community is incredible and worthy of recognition.”

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