Volunteering – an experience of a lifetime

Meet Alan Edgar, one of our longest serving volunteers. After 47 years of dedicating his time to RNIB, he's still going strong...

We're celebrating the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June 2014) and want to say a massive thank you to every single volunteer who's supported our work through the years. The most striking example of volunteering is from Alan Edgar, 68, who's been committing his time to helping RNIB for over 47 years. 

Alan started working for us  in 1967 as a Servicing Volunteer with RNIB’s Nuffield Talking Book Library for the Blind. He helped install machines that played Talking Books, a vital service for those who cannot read standard print. While he worked full time, Alan assisted the Technology Support Squad, installing computers and fixing repairs for people with sight loss across Northern Ireland. Sometimes spending hours, even Sundays, making repeat visits to help partially sighted people.

When asked about his years of service, Alan said, “I just like to help. I would encourage anyone to think about volunteering. You get interesting things to do and you learn - you learn all the time." Technology has changed dramatically over the years and I’ve felt privileged to take part in making those transitions easier for those with sight loss in any way I could.”

Pat Kerr, ICT trainer with RNIB NI, says, “Alan has been a vital part of the technology team. With years of experience at senior management level, we have been grateful for his constant assistance. During the planning of projects, when Alan has a certain look in his eyes, you know he's got a gem to share.”

Alan still volunteers one day a week.  He's offered his talent and skill at crucial times throughout the charity’s history and was nominated for Belfast City Council's Older Volunteer Award earlier this year.

Volunteers are vital to our mission to make everyday better for everyone affected by sight loss. In Northern Ireland we have over 288 people who give up their time every month fundraising, campaigning, administration, technology support and much more. They allow us to reach more people than we possibly could without them.

If you're interested in becoming a volunteer with RNIB Northern Ireland please contact Anne Crane, our Volunteer Coordinator on 028 9032 9373 or email rnibni@rnib.org.uk.

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