Meet Our Volunteer: Peter

Peter tell us a bit about yourself:

Well, I initially dabbled in engineering, but that was short-lived. I soon found myself at Gilbey’s Gin in ‘arla (or Harlow, as the signs will tell you). Later, I jumped into the travel industry and hung around for roughly four decades. I’ve been a holiday rep in lovely spots like Italy, Athens, and Faliraki when it was still a charming family resort. Winter took me to ski resorts in Italy, Bulgaria, and Romania. Let me tell you, working behind the Iron Curtain? Quite the experience! After my rep days, I climbed the ladder to Country Manager and later had a stint in France and Italy. It was around then I got my Defender.

What inspired you to join Wessex 4x4 Response?

After retiring in 2017, my sister-in-law, who’s a District Nurse, suggested I do something useful with the Defender. The result? I joined Wessex 4×4 Response the next winter.

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

Been at it since the winter of 2018-2019!

What is your role at Wessex 4x4 Response?

In the winter, I’m on the ground as a Responder (because summers are reserved for Italy!). Also, since the recent AGM, I’ve happily taken on the role of Treasurer – a job I can do all year, thanks to the wonders of online working.

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

When Sevag (Somerset Emergency Voluntary Agencies Group) sought non-clinical aid at vaccination centres during Covid, I lent a hand at Haynes Museum in Sparkford. My job? Welcoming folks, offering some sanitizer, being a reassuring presence and the occasional wheelchair assistance. Once, I popped in without my Wessex 4×4 Response jacket and almost got turned away. But a team leader recognized me, shouting, “It’s OK, he’s one of us.” That felt pretty special.

How do you balance volunteering with your other commitments?

That’s the easy part – I’ve retired!

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

It’s the idea that I’m offering a hand in ways some folks might not be able to. Not everyone has the right vehicle, or the time, or the circumstances.

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

In my experience, it’s always better to be prepared and on standby, even if you’re not always called upon. When you are needed, it often means there’s a logistics emergency unfolding. So, cherish the quiet moments and always be ready for when you’re truly needed.

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

Always look before you leap, especially when navigating roads with standing water or those that are flooded.

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

Well, I love a good slow drive across fields or cruising the long ford at Wookey when the weather’s right. But I hope we continue to make a genuine difference without any “Husky and Starch” (as John Thaw/Jack Reagan would put it) theatrics.

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