From saving lives to befriending a person in need, a day in the life of a British Red Cross volunteer is never dull.
The Horsham branch of the British Red Cross is calling for people give something back to their community this year by becoming a volunteer.
On May 8 2013, Stephen Tullet, 66, and Mark Northcote, 44, were volunteering for the British Red Cross in Swan Walk, Horsham when an elderly man collapsed near the West Street entrance.
Mark said: “He’d suffered a massive heart attack. There were no signs of life at all when we got to him.”
Putting the skills they practice at the British Red Cross into use, the pair were able to resuscitate the man and save his life.
Stephen said: “When you’ve had the training and something like that happens, you just switch into action mode and do what you can.
“It was only afterwards that we noticed the crowd of people standing around us.”
Mark added that, following the crisis, he felt overwhelmed by saving the life of another human being.
Stephen and Mark both volunteer at the Horsham branch and are a prime example of how much of a difference volunteers can make to a person’s life.
Stephen has been helping the British Red Cross for nearly 12 years where his main role is in first aid.
He said: “It’s a good feeling when you have done something to help.”
Mark also assists with first aid and PR and has volunteered at the British Red Cross for more than three years.
Judith Fitter, 40, Health and Social Care Co-ordinator for the Horsham base, said: “Volunteering provides a great experience and is a great way to get people to care.”
The branch in Rushams Road currently has just 14 volunteers covering Horsham with helpers sometimes agreeing to assist two or three vulnerable people at a time.
Judith said: “Our volunteers are brilliant. They go beyond what is expected of them.”
She added: “It’s so rewarding, the people we help are often vulnerable, scared and feeling down.
“When we go to see them there is an instant trust. You can see the person develop – after four weeks they are like a different person.
“It’s so simple, sometimes all we have to do is listen and offer companionship.”
When asked why he volunteers, Mark said: “You can’t explain exactly why you do it but it’s something to give back to the community.”
The British Red Cross provides a number of services from providing transport for doctors or hospital appointments and access to short term wheelchair loans to telephone befriending.
The Horsham branch’s Home from Hospital service received special recognition in November when Chris Sheail won Volunteer of the Year at the County Times Community Awards.
The charity’s services are only as successful as the volunteers that help to run them, said Judith.
“Volunteers are vital - we couldn’t do it without them.
“Volunteering gives you a focus and a chance to make a difference that is rewarding both personally and for the community.
“We should look after each other,” said the Red Cross representative who added volunteering is great for young people looking to increase their employability as well as new mums who have been out of work for a while.
Anyone that would like to volunteer for the British Red Cross can call 0800 0280 831 or visit www.redcross.org.uk.