WheelPower Volunteer Val Kelly has been volunteering with WheelPower for over twenty years. She gives us her account of what life is like as a WheelPower Volunteer.
'Just think of how beneficial it will be to those individuals with a physical impairment to be active and achieve their sporting potential, and to make new friendships they desperately deserve.' That's what Val highlights from her insightful experience helping wheelchair users reach their potential.
'My interest in wheelchair sport began in the 1980’s. I was a staff nurse working on the old spinal unit during the Inter-Spinal Unit Games at Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Patients would take themselves to join in on the social activities that took place in the large marquee and return to the ward before midnight, trying to remember which bed they were in!' comments Val.
'It was then that I decided to volunteer to help in the marquee where everyone participating in the Games, including coaches, managers, physios and carers would gather to socialise, exchanging advice regarding disability, and give helpful hints on the various sports, giving encouragement to each other, ' continues Val.
'Volunteers who ran the bar in the marquee would sell tickets for beer, soft-drinks and fish and chip suppers. Then the athletes would hand their tickets to other volunteers to fetch the drinks and food for them, causing hilarity trying to find the ‘customer’ in a very packed marquee – later we would help to clear up, gathering the debris in black bin bags, before going home with bruises from all the wheelchairs. All great fun!'
'As an RGN, I was involved in helping to maintain a medical room in the Olympic Lodge when the Games were on with Sister Mary Brennan. Selling raffle tickets has been another fulfilling activity for WheelPower and raising funds for the various sports associations, always amazed by people’s generosity'.
'In the most recent years, I have really enjoyed assisting WheelPower when the Inter-Spinal Unit Games and Junior Games are being hosted with my good friend Sandy Breen, meeting and greeting guests and Trustees when they visit the Stadium to watch the Games'.
'The Mix96 Tour de Vale Charity Bike Ride is a fantastic fundraiser for WheelPower and I have enjoyed being a marshal, ensuring the safety of the cyclists, old and young, giving them encouragement and cheering them on their way'.
'Volunteering at the annual Pamper evening each December means making and selling biscuits and serving mulled wine on the WheelPower stall, another enjoyable role'.
'I have met some lovely people during my years as a volunteer and would recommend it to anyone young and old who can spare a few hours during the year to help promote WheelPower, who are the loveliest bunch, dedicated to help transform lives through sport'.
'Based at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, WheelPower are grateful for any time you can give'.
'Just think of how beneficial it will be to those individuals with a physical impairment to be active and achieve their sporting potential, and to make new friendships they desperately deserve'.
'Remember, time and a smile is all it takes to make a difference to someone’s life. Come and join the WheelPower Team on a wonderfully rewarding journey!'
Message from WheelPower:
‘We would like to thank Val for all her support over the years - you’re doing a tremendous job Val! You are a WheelPower Superstar! You deserve the recognition!’
If you or a friend has volunteered for WheelPower in the past or present time, please do get in touch, we’d love to cover your story, give you the recognition you deserve and show how your hard work has helped a countless number of wheelchair users lead more active and healthier lives! Email email@example.com
If you're interested in exciting volunteering opportunities at WheelPower, contact the Team: firstname.lastname@example.org
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