Meet our Volunteer: Simon Gillespie

6 May 2015        

Simon Gillespie Last week our Chief Executive Simon Gillespie surprised volunteers in our Wilmslow shop and went undercover to spend some time as a volunteer. He tells us about his day...

"I received such a warm welcome from everyone in the shop. The team of staff and volunteers felt like a real community, everyone was friendly and happy to help me learn the ropes.

"Our retail division is such an important part of the charity.  We have over 750 shops and stores across the country which, together with our

eBay store, generates £34million to help fund our life saving research. I don’t think I really appreciated the amount of work that our incredible volunteers have to do – it was inspiring.

"My first job in the shop was to rearrange the book section, putting some of our latest donations of fiction books out on the shelves. We were out on the shop floor and working together to bring out the stock, sort it in to alphabetical order and make sure it was looking good. It was great to be out on the shop floor as I got to speak to some of our customers and see how our volunteers interact with them."

Local ambassadors

"Our volunteers truly are our local ambassadors for the charity. They help customers to learn more about our work, encourage them to fundraise and even recruit them to volunteer. I found their commitment to our work deeply impressive and motivating.

"For the second half of my day I was in the back, steaming clothes and getting them ready to go out on to the shop floor. If I am being honest, I found it very therapeutic, I do most of the ironing at home, so have had lots of practice!

"The back room was like a hive of activity. The volunteers and staff worked together to sort through the donations, tag them up, price them, steam them and get them out on to the shop floor."

All walks of life

"Throughout the day I felt a real sense of pride. Our volunteers come from all walks of life. Just in the Wilmslow shop there were volunteers who were there to gain experience for their CVs, those who had retired and wanted to meet new people and use their life skills, and those who were students. It didn’t matter about age differences, everyone got on and worked together and shared their experiences."

Volunteer today

Our volunteers are at the heart of the charity and we simply wouldn’t be able to continue our life saving work without them. 

Volunteering with the BHF for just half a day a month would fund one of our scientists to carry out life saving research for a whole hour.