News & Info

Hemel Hempstead resident given award for 15 years volunteer service to the hard of hearing

John Croft from Hemel Hempstead has been presented with a long service award by the Hertfordshire Hearing Advisory Service (HHAS).

Tony Stoyles, the Director of England's Deaf Rugby Union and Philip Linnegar, Chief Executive of HHAS presenting John Croft with his award.

John works as a volunteer "Hearing Aider" for the charity, helping local people with their hearing aids and offering support on coping with hearing loss.

Despite a busy family life - John has five children and 12 grandchildren - he has been volunteering for HHAS for 15 years and regularly helps hard of hearing residents at Gravel Lane, William Crook House, Varney Road and Two Beeches sheltered housing developments in Hemel Hempstead.

He also helps out at HHAS' monthly drop-in centre at the Social Centre for The Blind on Alston Road, Boxmoor, where people with hearing loss can get advice on assistive equipment, as well as support and advice on their hearing aid.

"I enjoy volunteering for HHAS as you regularly get a 'Eureka moment' when you fix someone's hearing aid. If someone hasn't been able to hear anything for weeks, it's amazing to see their face light up when you fix the problem with their hearing aid," said John. "My volunteer role is about releasing people from the isolation of being deaf. In some ways hearing loss is more isolating than sight loss as you miss out on social interaction when you can't hear what people are saying."

Philip Linnegar, Chief Executive of HHAS, along with guest speaker Tony Stoyles, the Director of England's Deaf Rugby Union, presented John with a certificate commending his 15 years volunteer service at the charity's annual Volunteers Evening in Welwyn Garden City on 24 October.

HHAS CEO Philip said: "We would like to say a big thank you to John for his fifteen years volunteer service. He is an amazingly dedicated volunteer who has helped countless people with hearing loss over the years."

Despite his 15 years service for the charity, John says he has no intention of giving up his volunteer role any time soon. "Why would I stop doing something I enjoy?" he said.

John was initially motivated to volunteer for HHAS when he met up with his profoundly deaf mother-in-law and discovered that she couldn't hear anything, despite having hearing aids. He discovered that the plastic tubing in the aids was blocked and was able to replace the tubes, after which his mother-in-law could hear again. "She switched them on and with a beaming smile said "I can hear!". That was my first eureka moment. It has been repeated over and over again many times since," said John.

HHAS urgently needs more volunteers in the Hemel Hempstead area to help local people suffering from hearing loss. To find out more about volunteering for the charity, contact Gary Appleby on 01707 324 582 or

The HHAS drop-in at the Social Centre for The Blind on Alston Road, Boxmoor, runs between 10am and 12pm on the first Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit the resource centre page.