Think you don’t have time to volunteer? Well Captain Allan Buck has been making the time for more than 60 years.
Allan, of Belford in Northumberland, has given decades of service to The Officers’ Association (OA), a military charity that looks after the welfare of officers and their families.
He began volunteering in 1948 and continued until he was in his late 80s. He is now 95.
And now, ahead of Volunteers’ Week next week, the efforts of people like Allan have been prasied.
Dr Justin Davis Smith, executive director of volunteering and development at National Council for Voluntary Organisations, said “communities would grind to a halt” without volunteers to support them.
Allan was born in 1918 during a zeppelin raid in south London and in WWII he served as a Captain in the Queens Royal West Surrey Regiment throughout the Italian campaign.
In December 1944 he was very badly wounded, which put an end to his fighting days although he continued serving as a military governor until 1948.
This hasn’t put Allan off danger though – at the age of 80, he parachuted out of a plane for Macmillan, raising £2,000 for the charity.
He volunteered for the OA until he was in his late 80s, before nominating his good friend Kerry Noble, 68 and also a Belford resident, to take over.
Both Kerry and Allan have always seen volunteering as an integral and ‘necessary’ part of life. Allan said: “If you’re capable of helping others, it should be part of your makeup.”
And they both agree that volunteering has taught them to always see the positives. Allan said: “We must remember to count our blessings, especially when the urge to grumble takes over.”
Kerry, who volunteers for the Glasgow and Lanarkshire Battalion for the Army cadet force, as well as the OA, has also seen the positive effect volunteering can have on young people too.
“I’ve seen a completely different change in attitude to life from young volunteers in Glasgow who have had to do community service, as part of their grading in the Cadets,” he said.
Nationwide, 10 million people volunteer every week and their economic value estimated at £40m a year.
Dr Davis Smith said: “People are beginning to realise the many benefits of giving their time. Not only is there the opportunity to help an individual or groups of people in your community, volunteers can meet new people, connect with their local area and enhance their employability skills. With volunteering you really get back what you put in.”
He added: “It sounds cheesy but I really do believe that anyone can become a volunteer. Ex-offenders with drug issues, for example, have found volunteering to be a brilliant way of re-assimilating into society.
“All you need is passion, a real commitment to helping in the community and a willingness to get involved.”
Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK, taking place from June 1 to 7.
The OA is a charity that provides lifetime support to officers, former-officers and their dependants. For more information visit www.officersassociation.org.uk .