Volunteers of the Month - September 2021 - Diana & Chris Burrell

Posted by Victoria Leedham

At Hearing Dogs for Deaf People we believe it’s important to shine a light on those volunteers who go quietly about their business, diligently helping and giving behind the scenes without fuss or desire for recognition.

Two such volunteers in our community are Diana and Chris Burrell, from Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire. This understated couple joined us as fundraisers through our preferred route of microvolunteering at a couple of our dog walks, deciding they liked our vibe (and us theirs!), before filling in the paperwork to become fully registered volunteers and regularly available to do more.

And ‘do more’ they have!

Chris owns CB Solutions, a safety and architectural fabrication company, who fielded a huge corporate team in this month’s extra-special 40th year Great North Run. Not only have the CB Solutions runners jointly raised thousands, we have been their Charity of the Year for two consecutive years, and their half-marathon training and involvement has helped to reach new audiences and gain enthusiasm for our work.

Kerry Taylor, Managing Director of CB Solutions (pictured below with Chris), said:

"Hearing Dogs was a charity I had never heard of until last year, when a family member began volunteering with them. I have always been a dog lover and the company is always looking to support local charities where we can, so Hearing Dogs seemed like the perfect fit for us when we were looking for charity places for the Great North Run. 

When I read the case study about Teddy and his hearing dog Vincent, I couldn't believe how much of an impact deafness can have on someone's mental health. The isolation and loneliness he had suffered was taken away by Teddy's arrival and it was so nice to read that he felt confident again thanks to his hearing dog.

We had a fantastic day, the atmosphere along the route and in the Hearing Dogs tent afterwards was incredible! We enjoyed the experience so much that we will sign up even more runners next year!"

Both Chris and Diana are so generous with their free time. They are actively involved in our current series of Great British Dog Walks, not only the one most local to them, as Community Fundraising Manager Gemma Wardle explains: “Di and Chris are always very willing helpers for our walks. They’ve helped at two already and will be volunteering again this weekend as marshals which isn’t always the most popular role. They always come along for the whole day, really get stuck in and don’t mind what they’re asked to do as long as they’re helping!”

Fellow Community Fundraising Manager, Gaynor Cavanagh, concurs: “Chris & Di were amazing at Temple Newsam in Leeds. I felt so much better running my first ever Great British Dog Walk knowing that they were there to do whatever needed doing. I’ve never seen goody bags filled so fast!”

Diana also regularly spends her time sourcing prizes for tombolas, fundraising campaigns and events; in fact the majority of which she is extremely generous in purchasing herself. She notably donated a large hamper of dog-related goodies for our Big Summer of Fundraising prize draw which we widely publicised to encourage sponsorship. Her gifts to the charity and bountiful donations like this have raised an incredible amount of additional money over the last couple of years.

Hearing Dogs is exceptionally grateful to Diana, Chris and other volunteer fundraisers like them who have stuck by us and continued to do all that they can to help during the unusual past 18 months. It’s joyful that ‘Team Burgundy’ is re-emerging in a sensibly cautious way with small local and regional events, as well as the return of our Great British Dog Walks which have been reformatted to safely explore some stunning locations (with or without a dog!) in a socially distanced, secure way.

Gemma describes Diana and Chris as “the type of volunteers who stay in the background and give quietly”. We would like to take this opportunity to momentarily eschew their modesty, and thank them, and CB Solutions, very loudly and publicly for their exceptionally generous, enthusiastic, personal and professional support of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People being able to train hearing dogs and provide personalised hearing loss services because nobody with deafness should feel alone.

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About the author

Victoria Leedham

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

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