Volunteers of the Month - March 2019 - Tania & Keith Leman

Posted by Victoria Leedham

We all agree that Tania and Keith Leman’s recognition of Volunteers of the Month is well overdue, so what better time to finally celebrate their brilliance than the month in which they have become first-time puppy parents!

Delphi’s D-litter of 9 Labrador puppies was born on 4 March at the Leman’s home in Hampshire. Both mum and pups are doing well, and no one knows better than Tania how to prepare these youngsters for their future careers ahead.

Over thirteen years of volunteering for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, Tania has trained sixteen puppies, taken three of them right through to placement with their deaf partners and most recently the aforementioned Delphi had the accolade of being selected to become a mother to some of the next generation of hearing dogs.

With Keith’s full support, they also undertake holiday cover for other trainee and working hearing dogs so, in fact, many other dogs are lucky enough to experience the comforts of the Leman household.

Both Keith and Tania championed their North Hampshire locality as being perfect for one of puppy training satellite areas, and how right they were! Once launched, the area filled up astoundingly quickly and remains one of our most popular. It’s difficult to underestimate how much personal effort Tania and Keith put in to this success for which we are incredibly grateful. Not only did they find our Aldershot puppy class hall – they certainly filled it too!

Puppy Training Instructor Jackie Avery says: “Tania and Keith have consistently been amazing volunteer dog trainers since I have known them, firstly with Chip and then agreeing to take on Jensen to complete his advanced training. Nothing is ever too much trouble and I can’t thank them enough for their patience, understanding and kind support when I started in my role. It doesn't escape my notice that a huge number of volunteers in the North Hampshire part of my area are down to Tania and Keith's recruitment drive, as well as them always being so welcoming and informative when people ask about what they are up to while out and about with the puppies”.

As if this wasn’t enough to keep them busy, Tania is treasurer for the North Hants-Surrey Borders fundraising group and together with Keith attends nearly all the local fundraising events. She is very successful at organising pre-loved sales and contributes many items of her handicrafts to the sales table. Keith is an accomplished photographer who takes many photos at events, even covering two gigs in a day when asked especially nicely!

“Tania and Keith are very valued team members of our fundraising group” says chairman Irene Rich “I know I can seek Tania’s advice with any concerns I may have regarding planning events and they happily provide very welcome refreshments when we have stalls and get-togethers. They were instrumental in starting the now traditional ‘cook out’ at our annual New Year’s Eve group walk at West Wittering, and I can confirm Keith fries a mean sausage - whatever the weather!”

“Tania is a fount of knowledge about training puppies and their behaviour and is always happy to pass on any hints and tips her experience provides. The North Hants-Surrey Borders Fundraising Group would not be such a great friendly team without their unfailing good humour and dedication”.

Nicholas Orpin, Community Fundraising Manager, concurs: “Tania and Keith have been excellent fundraising volunteers and ambassadors for the charity for many years. They have undertaken numerous roles including; speaking, fundraising, branch officer roles, social media and driving to name a few, taking each one in their stride and always going the extra mile. They really invest themselves in the charity and this helps welcome new volunteers to the area too. The development and success of Hearing Dogs in the North Hants-Surrey Borders area owes them a great deal.”

The Lemans knowledge, generosity, dedication and organisational ability are second to none, but it’s perhaps their good humour and light-hearted, fun nature that sets them apart and makes them so popular in the staff and volunteer community.

Fellow volunteer Anne Pickett concludes “North Hants-Surrey Borders arrange a really lovely monthly group walk, but the highlight of the year is now the New Year’s Eve walk Irene’s mentioned where - come rain, shine or gale force wind - a camp kitchen is set up by Keith where bacon or sausage baps are cooked with a smile! Tania and Keith make a great team, are a lovely couple and fun to be with whatever the occasion”

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About the author

Victoria Leedham

Hello, I’m Victoria and the Volunteering Manager at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. We refer to our volunteers as the Hearing Dogs ‘family’ and really mean it; hopefully some of my blog posts here will explain why!

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