Meet Our Volunteer: Annabelle

Annabelle tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m originally from Sussex but have been in Dorset for over 20 years now. I have 4 crazy alpacas a young cat and a new horse. I feed and film hedgehogs in my garden. And am just a mad animal lover. I work as an equestrian event photographer outside of Wessex 4×4 Response but only part time due to failing health and the fact that most of my work is at weekends due to the events. 

What inspired you to join Wessex 4x4 Response?

I was cajoled into it by an existing member who as nhs occupational therapist was treating a badly shattered finger (horse riding accident). She presumed correctly that because I had a horse I had a 4×4 and she was correct! (Blinking horse to blame again!)

How long have you been a volunteer with Wessex 4x4 Response?

Since 2013

What is your role at Wessex 4x4 Response?

I have multiple roles. I’m currently a trustee because I needed to, to be the membership secretary. I’m on the control team and the training team. Plus I sometimes go out and respond. 

What has been your most memorable experience as a volunteer so far?

Sadly a couple of negative outcomes when assisting DoRSaR have stuck with me. But the satisfaction of being there for a good outcome is the reward for helping. I did many miles in the Beast from the East running carers around. And that was wonderful knowing that the people needing care weren’t abandoned. 

How do you balance volunteering with your other commitments?

Because of my health, I only work weekends. So doing membership paperwork I can fit in during the week around looking after my animals and sleeping due to the fatigue from chronic illness. 

What do you find most fulfilling about being a volunteer here?

We’re a big family. There’s always someone to help with something outside of us helping others. I love knowing that we all help each other as well as those who need us. 

What advice would you give to someone considering joining Wessex 4x4 Response?

You can put in as much time or as little as you like. You won’t always be needed. However, opportunities for training and social interaction are always invaluable. You don’t need a kitted-up vehicle for the majority of what we do. But it’s a great excuse to buy flashy lights as long as they’re orange/amber!

Tell us about a skill or lesson you've gained from your volunteer experience:

I’ve learned lots. I was really chuffed to pass my foundation radio license, my dad was really proud of me for doing that. 

What are your hopes for the future of Wessex 4x4 Response?

I really hope it grows a bit more. We’re becoming more well-known now after a lot of work by previous trustees, liaison people and long-standing members. We need to take every opportunity to keep people engaged even if the weather is behaving. 

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