A Whiteabbey Hearing Link volunteer has received the royal seal of approval from Princess Anne for his work with the hearing charity.
James Newell has suffered profound hearing loss due to illness from the age of four.
On June 4, he was one of three volunteers who represented the charity at a Tower of London fundraiser with the organisation’s patron Princess Anne.
James, who wore two hearing aids growing up and had a cochlear implant in 2010, told the Times: “I first started as a helpdesk responder which was responding to emails from the general public that were being received via the helpdesk.
“I then moved into a role Programme Support Volunteer. This is an very rewarding and active role in their two programmes, Intensive Rehabilitation Programme (IRP) and Self Management Programme (SMP).”
Since 2013 I have supported three IRP’s and two SMP’s which I find a great joy to be involved in and to see the difference it makes on peoples lives.
“I have also spoken at a UK Volunteer Conference in Eastbourne and participated in several volunteer training events in England.
“I am part of the small local volunteer team who contribute to the decisions about how best Hearing Link can support people and develop in Northern Ireland.”
James says that the most rewarding part of his job is seeing people come out of their shells and fulfil their potential, as well as being a positive role model.
Recalling his meeting with Princess Anne, James revealed: “The nerves didn’t crop up until I was told that the volunteers were each going to have an opportunity to speak to HRH. I felt really proud about the moment and I made sure I got her full attention in true Norn Iron fashion.
“I told her about the volunteering role that I have been doing for the past 2 years. We also spoke about the difference it makes to the people that come into contact with Hearing Link and their programmes.”
To donate to Hearing Link, contact Michelle McMaster at email@example.com or via telephone or SMS at 07534 563451. Alternatively, donate to Hearing Link UK online and find out how donations are used at http://hearinglink.org/donate.