Volunteer of the Month - December 2019 - Isabelle Baldwin

Posted by Victoria Leedham

As the year draws to a close it’s a joy to look back and celebrate Isabelle Baldwin’s many and varied volunteering roles, from raising sponsorship to be rescued by a Newfoundland dog called Chewy to donning our mascot suit Bruce on many an occasion, there’s not much Isabelle wouldn’t do to support Hearing Dogs for Deaf People!

She is consistently the first to put her hand up to help at events, has cared for dogs, been a training assistant and always offers admin support during the school holidays, or after work from her local teaching position. In addition to the £500 of sponsorship from her Newfoundland Rescue this year, she has raised substantial funds through a sponsored swimming challenge, abseiled the Spinnaker Tower in doggy ears, collected cheques on our behalf and is a generous puppy sponsor. She has run a feed station at our Cycle Sportive, successfully completed British Sign Language Level 1, co-organised a family meet-up of the L litter and even finds time to knit items for sale and thoughtful gifts.

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Come snow or heatwave, Isabelle happily dons our mascot suit to delight visitors both young and old. It’s a role she’s made her own, and has genuinely studied how best to embody the character, never asking for more than a bottle of water and someone to zip her in! She frequently volunteers alongside her son Marc, and this year she inducted fellow volunteer Lin Stickland to the role:

“Isabelle is so so lovely and is supportive in every way possible. She has been such a wonderful help to me becoming Bruce the mascot – showing me how to be a fantastic dog! She makes sure I'm in the right place at the right time, gently letting me know what’s going on and guiding me with such care. Her commentary with the crowds is spot on, she has a fun way of telling everyone what is happening and organising those wanting have photos taken with Bruce. She’s simply fabulous!” 

Mascot Isabelle.jpg

It’s so true that Isabelle universally has encouraging words for other volunteers, never missing an opportunity to offer a “well done!” or kind sentiment either in person, or through one of our many social media platforms.

Her cheerful style of volunteering does not go unnoticed. Community Fundraising Manager Nicholas Orpin relays, “Isabelle is one in a million. In fact she writes her own story. Here are some snippets of emails she has written to me, and I know for sure everyone who comes into to contact with her will have similar which is just great”:

  • Happy to help!
  • Proud to be a member of the Hearing Dogs family.
  • I love wearing the mascot suit - weird, I know - that's me!
  • Thank YOU for YOUR help.
  • I raised double what I had planned!!!
  • Soooooo happy!!! A lovely reminder of this wonderful day.

Over six years with the charity Isabelle has brought so much to the Hearing Dogs community. She has boundless enthusiasm and, as a natural giver in life, she contributes whole-heartedly to anything she sets her mind to.  What most picks her out, however, is her sunny disposition. She’s got a big smile, an even bigger heart and there’s so much to be admired in her forthcoming, willing, happy-to-help attitude.

Let’s end on another email snippet from Isabelle that sums up this wonderful lady’s character to a tee:

  • THANK YOU SO SO SO SO SO SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I HAVE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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About the author

Victoria Leedham

Hello, I’m Victoria and Head of Volunteering at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. It’s my privilege to celebrate and share stories about our wonderful volunteer family.

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