Volunteer of the Month - June 2023 - Mike Moss
Posted by Victoria Leedham
Mike Moss, from Windsor, is an entirely original member of the Hearing Dogs family.
Following semi-retirement from a career in engineering, Mike turned his time and hitherto dormant creative talents to becoming an author; penning three books inspired by his dog Izzie, all of which help raise funds for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People where we’re fortunate that he volunteers.
This is a completely self-generated activity to which Mike has not only dedicated his authorship, but also a huge amount of gusto in promotion. He prints and publishes the books himself, the royalties from sales are then donated directly to Hearing Dogs.
Mike and wife Sally adopted Izzie after she failed to make the grade as a working hearing dog. Though Mike was already a generous puppy sponsor, he felt compelled to do more and decided to fundraise by writing that first book ‘A Small Dog Story: From Stray to Hearing Dog (Well, Almost)’ (which has received a 4.5 star rating on Amazon), based on Izzie’s adventures.
Two more volumes have followed: ‘Izzie and the Martian Adventure’ and ‘Izzie and the Space Pirates’. To date, sales stand at 319 copies, the royalties for which have raised £900 for Hearing Dogs.
Not only is volunteer Mike’s contribution to the charity entirely unique, the charm of his books also puts our organisation in a tremendously good light. He always goes the extra mile to ensure the connection to Hearing Dogs is never lost, for example, he promoted his latest book with a short video in self-taught British Sign Language following learning the alphabet in BSL as part of the 2.6 Challenge to save UK charities during Lockdown.
Mike’s trio of novels have been featured in the Windsor Express and Round&About magazine’s Windsor edition In addition to many local fairs, one memorable book signing was part of the Wokingham Living Advent Calendar. In 2022 he was recognised with an award from the High Sheriff of Berkshire for being a standout member of the community.
As well as marketing the books, Mike has collected cheques at high profile events, and is a popular Hearing Dogs volunteer speaker. He raises awareness of the charity by talking to various groups and schools, Scout and Cub troops, and even the Maidenhead Static Model Club! Most recently he attended a meeting of the Cox Green Wives’ Group (along with fellow volunteer Dawn and hearing dog mum Ruby, below) where they picked up a kind donation, as well as selling around £50 worth of merchandise.
Dawn says: “Mike and I have done three enjoyable talks together. He is very relaxed and knowledgeable, both when speaking and when answering questions from the audience. Mike is also very conscientious and professional, tailoring each talk to its specific audience, be it children or adults.
He is very easy to work with and passionate about raising funds for a charity that clearly means a great deal to him.”
Kevin Game, Community Fundraising Manager, continues: “Mike is an all-round dedicated member of the Hearing Dogs family. He’s a really great speaker, maintains collection boxes, and has been raising money with his own self-published books about Izzie the (almost) hearing dog for a long time.”
The High Sheriff, Dawn and Kevin are right; Mike is truly a gift to his own community and ours. His books and talks are enjoyed by both children and adults alike; striking a chord with dog lovers and those with hearing loss throughout Berkshire. His unique charitable endeavours, readiness to attend public engagements and amiable personality make him a pleasure to work with and volunteer alongside. Whilst Izzie wasn’t destined to be a qualified hearing dog, we bless the day she brought Mike to our door.
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