Hull volunteer awarded for increasing cycling opportunities for people with sight loss
Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Robin Russell, a volunteer from the sight loss charity HERIB, has won a Volunteer of Year award after raising funds for new tandem bicycles and bringing more blind and sighted riders together.
Robin, a trustee and volunteer at HERIB (Hull and East Riding Institute for the Blind), has been working to raise funds to purchase additional tandems for the Beech Holme Tandem Club. He has also been encouraging more blind and sighted riders to get involved with the club, while leading an annual one-week riding holiday for people with visual impairment.
His efforts led to a nomination for the Viking FM Awards. At a special dinner at Hull’s KC Stadium, Robin was presented with the award for Volunteer of the Year, which is given to those who are passionate about the community and community projects.
Commenting on his award, Robin said: “I was over the moon to be shortlisted, let alone win the Volunteer of the Year award. You do these things because you want to do them and so it is nice to get that recognition.”
Beech Holme Tandem Club gives the opportunity to blind and partially sighted riders to ride behind sighted front riders, enabling them to stay fit and healthy and develop a social network. On average, approximately 20 blind or partially sighted riders cycle weekly with their 20 sighted riders.
The club meets every week, in all weathers, and regularly cycle routes of 15-20 miles. If the weather is too severe to ride, the group still meet and go to the pub to ensure that the social aspect of the group is maintained. Although the club has been going for approximately 58 years, when Robin joined there were only two or three tandems. Robin has been instrumental in encouraging more front and back riders to get involved.
Sandra Ackroyd, HERIB Chief Executive, said: “We nominated a number of volunteers for different awards and we were thrilled when Robin was shortlisted by the judging panel and delighted when he was given this accolade. Tandem cycling not only offers health benefits, but the power to transform the lives of people living with visual impairment by addressing issues of social isolation and mental wellbeing. Without people like Robin and his colleagues at the tandem club, this opportunity would not be possible.”