Petplan’s animal charity volunteer of the year 2015 award has been presented to a former police officer who sold his house to help save a dog charity.
Ben Wilkes, from Staffordshire, originally visited the Border Collie Trust GB in 1997 solely to donate blankets for the dogs under its care. But he felt compelled to pledge his spare time to the charity as soon as he stepped in the centre and has been a volunteer for 18 years, becoming a trustee in 2000.
Mr Wilkes made the life-changing decision to sell his family home in 2004 and move into the trust to provide 24-hour care for the dogs, after the former residents retired.
While he works for the charity on a voluntary basis, he is so committed to helping border collies in need that he even recruited his own wife to the charity’s cause, with the two of them available day and night. From dog collection to DIY, Ben turns his hand to the full range of tasks at the centre.
Part of the furniture
Mr Wilkes said: “Sometimes in life you just happen to be in the right place at the right time – and that was the case with me becoming a volunteer at the Border Collie Trust GB.
“I’m now such a part of the furniture people are surprised when they learn I’m a volunteer – they think it’s my career. Rescue work is a very unusual beast in that it can be very unpredictable, but it’s great bringing the police force mentality to the role as it gives me real focus and structure.”
- To nominate an animal charity volunteer at www.petplan.co.uk/charityawards
- Nominations for the 2016 awards close on 15 February.