I started volunteering at the age of 15 at the Christmas party which, in those days, was held at the Lawnswood Arms back in 1987. 

I start volunteering because, when I was just 18 months old, I was diagnosed with acute  lymbastic leukaemia and Candlelighters helped my parents when Candlelighters was started by parents and in the early days before Candlelighters became the charity it is today. 

I have volunteered in a lot of different areas, from fundraising at Easter fairs to cheering people on at fun runs and challenge events.  But the main volunteering event that I help out at is the Christmas party, which my father and I have done for 36 years (I think if my maths is right)!

My day to day job is working at a garden centre on the outskirts of York. I help people choose their plants for their gardens and I also have a small stand where I sell a range of cards of my photography for Candlelighters.  

When I’m not volunteering and working, I love being in my garden with my plants. I also enjoy going on holiday and Scuba Diving. On several occasions, I have taken a sign down to 10 metres to promote Candlelighters.  

If anyone asked me about volunteering for Candlelighters I would say that everyone is really friendly. You might want to start off with an easy event, like a coffee morning and tombola, or, if you have plenty of energy, try a fun run! You could even team up with an experienced volunteer for your first event to see how it all works.  

The best thing about volunteering is the friends you make and the memories you create for the kids. 

I think if anyone has a spare day, or just a few hours, standing and cheering people on at a fun run is so beneficial to the runners, as I have been one of them.  Seeing a Candlelighters volunteer motivates you to run faster. 

I personally love being a volunteer because I know that the Christmas parties and different events that I have attended can spread the name and purpose of the charity further so more children’s parents can get help while their child is in hospital.  

I have also gained my ambassador wings as an Ambassador for Candlelighters. I go out and about collecting cheques and cash and do little talks about Candlelighters to people who have raised the money but don’t really know much about charity. This helps to spread the word about Candlelighters and explain about all the things we do. 

The best thing about volunteering is the friends you make and the memories you create for the kids.