Two pensioners who have dedicated an incredible 50 years to Cats Protection have been praised by the charity as it marked Volunteers Week.
Cyril and Marion Phelps, who joined the charity’s Great Amwell and District Branch in 1956 and 1957 respectively, have helped the charity to rehome hundreds of unwanted and abandoned cats.
Their five decades of service - during which they raised a family and held down full-time jobs - have now been highlighted by Cats Protection during Volunteers Week, the UK’s annual celebration of volunteers which took place from 1-7 June.
Marion said: ‘We were the only Branch of Cats Protection in the immediate area and, for the first ten years, no-one at the Branch could afford a car. As a result we travelled great distances via public transport to collect cats and find them new and loving homes.
‘Seeing Cats Protection as it is today - the UK’s leading feline welfare charity with 29 Centres and 261 Branches - makes us very happy and we feel proud in having helped the charity to get to where it is today.’
The charity celebrates its 80th Anniversary this year, and Michael Henley, Cats Protection’s Head of Operations, explained that volunteers are the core of the charity. ‘The charity finds new and loving homes for around 60,000 cats each year.
This success would not be possible were it not for our 6,000 volunteers who - like Cyril and Marion - make great sacrifices to help the charity out of a love for cats and a desire to help the unlucky ones find a home. Iíd like to take the opportunity to thank our volunteers, and hope that Volunteers Week inspires many more people to join us in the future.’
Jane Smith, 27, a volunteer with the charity’s Worthing and District Branch, did just that in 2005. She explained:
’I joined the charity after being inspired by the Year of the Volunteer Campaign, and have filled a variety of roles including fostering and home checking before becoming the Branchís Publicity Officer. It’s great to do such interesting work and be part of a worthwhile cause.
If you are thinking of volunteering then do think about the skills you can offer and get in touch. The charity has many roles available, so I’m sure you can find that perfect role for you!’
If you are interested in volunteering for Cats Protection please contact the charity’s national Helpline on 08702 099 099 for details of your local Branch or Adoption Centre.
Volunteers Week is led by Volunteering England, a registered UK charity that works across the voluntary, public and private sectors to raise the profile of volunteering.