For this year’s volunteer awards, and in celebration of 40 years of Sustrans, we created an extra special award for outstanding volunteering contribution to the charity.
The award celebrates a volunteer’s remarkable commitment to Sustrans during their time as a volunteer and recognises the impact they have had in their local community.
So, let’s meet our winners.
“ Carol and Bryan have shown an exceptional level of commitment over their 18 years of volunteering and I’m delighted to be able to recognise their outstanding contribution with this 40th Anniversary Award. ”
Tell us a little about yourselves.
We’re Carol and Bryan, we are retired and live in Washington in the North East of England. The area is well served with traffic-free cycle paths.
We started as litter pickers on the C2C route then got involved with activities in schools, at promotional events, leading rides and hosting ‘learn to ride’ sessions to help build people’s confidence with riding a bike.
Volunteering with Sustrans is one of the main activities we do together, apart from playing music. Bryan enjoys photography and I do folk dancing.
What is one of your most memorable moments whilst volunteering with Sustrans?
Carol: For me, it has to be seeing the look on a child’s face who has just learned to ride a bike for the first time.
Bryan: I think it’s got to be working together as a team and then enjoying a communal lunch!
What do you do as volunteers?
We help to arrange task days and litter picks on the routes across the region, to keep it well maintained.
In the past we’ve helped run ‘Dr Bike’ sessions to teach people how to care for and maintain their bicycles, and we organise regular litter picks to improve our neighbourhood and make it safe and inviting for people to walk and cycle.
Carol: I’m also a volunteer group co-ordinator for the Sustrans C7C Beamish to Sunderland volunteer group, supporting the group to carry out activities as a team.
Really, we get involved with anything that crops up!
What is your favourite thing about being a Sustrans volunteer?
“ We were so surprised to receive the award, given that so many volunteers are doing marvellous things. We feel that we're accepting on their behalf. ”
As keen cyclists, promoting cycling and walking is something that we’re both interested in and volunteering with Sustrans lets us give something back to the community.
It keeps us healthy and allows us to make new friends – it’s a very sociable activity!
Volunteering has definitely allowed us to keep active and alert as a couple in retirement.