The Accidental Volunteer

He looks after dozens of guests across Aberdeen’s 12 Contact the Elderly groups but John Gall is something of an accidental volunteer.

The 60-year-old was en route to a social event and had no intention of getting involved when he accompanied a friend hoping to volunteer as a driver for Contact the Elderly.

But when he heard that there could be a delay in establishing a Granite City group he offered to help.

The hitch was the appointment of a group co-ordinator but, when told what it entailed, he immediately volunteered to stand in. That was in 2010 and today John, from Nigg in Aberdeen, is now area organiser, arranging regular gatherings for around 70 guests across all of the city’s groups.

From that serendipitous introduction he has become a passionate advocate for the charity and a tireless recruiter of volunteers who never misses an opportunity to raise awareness or persuade someone to join up, always ensuring their experience is fun.

As a result his dedication to the role has been recognised with a Marsh Christian Trust Award – an accolade presented to those who modestly work to improve life for others.

John, who has also been a host and is a volunteer driver for the charity, said:

“I get great satisfaction from my volunteering as I know the good it does for not only the guests but also for the drivers.  The award came as a pleasant surprise but I like to think it is for all the volunteers as it’s a little awkward being singled out when there are so many people who make our Sunday afternoons happen.”