Ian regularly volunteers and champions accessibility in Eastbourne.
Ian shared his story with Eastbourne Volunteers.
How did you start volunteering?
Ian says “The first instance of volunteering I can remember was offering to read a newspaper to an elderly gentleman who had suffered a severe stroke. This man had poor vision and speech difficulties, but somehow I understood what he was saying. The gratitude he and his wife expressed surprised me because to me it was such a simple thing to do. I visited this gentleman many times without ever realising this was volunteering, but I do remember feeling good that such a little thing had been helpful”.
In his early thirties, Ian was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and soon after joining the local support group, he found himself on the branch committee, a position he held for 13 years. In 2003 Ian established a weekly exercise project for people with neurological conditions that still operates today. During this time, he also joined the Eastbourne Access Group. “I am very proud of the free annual Eastbourne’s Guide for Disabled People publication that I help to produce.”
Why do you volunteer?
“Volunteering is addictive, as it is so beneficial and comes with a feel-good factor from helping other people.”
“Throughout my life I have benefited from the help and support of others and it is my appreciation of this that drives me.
I have benefited from the selflessness of others and it would be wrong of me to accept this without returning something to the community.”
What have you gained from volunteering?
“Volunteering has been a significant element of my life for as long as I can remember and I cannot imagine life without it. I met my wife through volunteering and I wouldn’t have wanted my life to be any different than it is”.