Story 38

Part of a community

I started in 2004 as a volunteer at Leonard Cheshire at our old head office at Milbank.

Paul Herman

I heard Leonard Cheshire was a famous second world war veteran who had fought against Hitler, and then started his own charity to help disabled people after the war. Some people are arrogant about disabled people — they don’t understand that they can look after themselves, and lead happy lives. So I am very interested in working with a charity which believes disabled people can be independent.

My role has covered many things. Sometimes I put together volunteering packs which we send out around the UK. Sometimes, I input data. Sometimes I work with my colleagues who are also volunteers and we put publications together for marketing and send them out.

I received a British Empire Medal in 2013 for services to the community which took me by surprise. It was given to me by the Lord Mayor of London. It was a great day — the head of policy and campaigns team came with me, and afterwards we had a celebration lunch. I am very proud of it.

I also feel I am part of a community at Leonard Cheshire. It gives me experience — so I can get a part time job. I really enjoy looking after other people, and helping them get better at their work. I enjoy making friends here and looking at the history of Leonard Cheshire the man.

The only thing I do wish is that I had met Leonard Cheshire. I would just say hello to him, and thank him for everything he did.  He could have done anything after the war, but he chose to help disabled people. That really is amazing.

Leonard Cheshire could have done anything after the war, but he chose to help disabled people. That really is amazing.