Rory has been volunteering since he was in primary school.
Rory tells the stories of Mid Wales. Over the years he has spoken to the older generation and collected the stories of the old Montgomeryshire families so he can pass them on to the younger generations.
Rory uses his knowledge to inspire the younger generation and to raise funds for whatever good causes ask. The total he has raised is in excess of £40,000 and has benefited groups including Air Ambulance, Heart Foundation, churches, schools, dance groups, community groups, and the homeless through his work for the food bank. He has raised funds by undertaking ghost-walks and talks and other events such as a sponsored silence. He has also supported artists with the Artists in the Park project and written a book on local ghost stories as well.
Rory is a people person. He wants to bring pride to youngsters and help them connect to their local community by sharing its cultural history. For example, he will raise money for a ballet class so they can buy slippers or pay for the bus to get them to a competition. He happily sits in front of school classes telling pupils about their own local culture, folklore and history so they can pass this on to their friends and family.
Rory volunteers because he loves to do so and wants to make a difference.
Rory’s nominator said:
“Rory’s got a huge heart and is always smiling and caring for others. If Rory can help you he will. He cares so much for others and is passionate about his community.”
Phil started volunteering over 10 years ago when the local junior football club was at risk of folding, despite not being a football enthusiast. At the football club Phil was responsible for coaching, managing and organising matches for the side for about 9 years. This regularly took two days a week during the season and a day a week during the rest of the year.
Phil has been volunteering with the Message in a Bottle scheme since late 2017. The project was inspired by David Attenborough’s Blue Planet, which exposed the level of plastics polluting the oceans. He started by organising beach cleans on the coast and then set up the Message in a Bottle community action project to reduce plastic use and litter in Llanidloes with 150 people attending a community litter pick at the launch in June 2018. He also organised a litter pick along 100 miles of the River Severn.
Phil is the only person operating and organising the Message in a Bottle scheme. He runs successful social media channels for the schemes with 1200 followers and very high post engagement. He uses these to communicate with the volunteer workforce which then carries out litter picks. Phil’s work has also contributed to curriculum changes and resulted in resources being used for schools.
Phil has also become involved in starting the ‘Bags of Confidence’ scheme which aims to alleviate period poverty by helping teenagers to access sanitary products.
Phil’s ethos is “go big or go home”! Climate change is a subject that is very close to his heart, and he feels good doing things that will help others.
Phil’s nominator said:
“I think his story should be spread far and wide to inspire others to follow his example. Phil has managed to make a fun project for the whole town, so that everyone is aware of the problem and committed to helping solve it.”
Paula has been volunteering for Macmillan for the past seven years, but has been volunteering since her teens. She enjoys being able to give something back to her community.
Paula has raised over £5000 for Macmillan, which has helped the organisation to invest in services in Powys, which have been critical in a county with no district general hospital.
Paula has also established and developed a local drop-in service in Presteigne for people affected by cancer; providing emotional support, signposting to local services and information on the services Macmillan can provide. The drop-in has provided support for over 40 people by providing an attentive ear. A service user commented: “It’s nice to have a chat with a friendly face and to talk to someone that isn’t a close friend or family member as I cannot open up to them and show my true feelings and concerns as I do not want to worry them.” The drop-in is now recognised by health professionals who refer patients in to the service.
Paula also reviews new leaflets and books that Macmillan produce, to check for appropriateness. She also helps with Cancer Relay for Life, in Presteigne, that has become a large event with many in the community taking part. Paula also attends the Volunteer Forum Meeting in Cardiff every three months which plans for the future.
Paula’s voluntary efforts have inspired Macmillan as an organisation, who have highlighted the service as a priority in Powys to further develop the service county wide and recruit additional volunteers.
Paula’s nominator said:
“Paula is a remarkable woman with her heart set on helping and supporting her local community and is an inspiration to us all.”
Giles joined West Mercia Special Constabulary in 1986 before transferring to Dyfed Powys in 1996 where he currently holds the rank of Special Inspector for Powys.
He has served voluntarily for 32 years and in the communities of Powys in particular for 22 years.
He manages and takes responsibility for the welfare and training of a team of between 10 and 20 volunteers. He pushed for the issue of personal issue radio handsets to Special Constables and driven forward monthly training sessions, developing their skills to increase effectiveness, confidence and retention rates.
Over the last two years he has established the Special Constabulary Mounted Horse Section, including buying his own horse. Giles learnt from the experiences of other police forces; sought sponsorship for specialist uniform and equipment; developed training; and now regularly attends events and shows including the Royal Welsh Show, Aintree and the Presteigne Remembrance Parade. Giles loves helping people and has found often that when using his horse, children are more likely to talk to him. It helps him show them that officers are there to help, and to allay any fears.
In 2018, Giles did more hours of voluntary work than any other Special Constable in Powys having committed almost 500 hours, on top of his day job.
Giles has saved the lives of at least two people, and has faced a rifle being pointed at him, threats and other violent incidents.
Giles’ nominator said:
“I have nominated Giles as an unsung hero because he is someone how has given so much, often at the expense of his friends and family, to keep the communities of Powys safe and develop future generations of volunteers.”
Photographs by Joe Purches of Ayton West Studio