News & Info

HHAS gives Hertford man award for 15 years volunteer service

Richard West from Hertford 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 Richard West with his award.

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

He has been volunteering for HHAS for 15 years and regularly helps hard of hearing people in the congregation of Hertford Methodist Church and those using the church's coffee bar. He also helps hearing impaired residents at Glebe Court, a sheltered housing development in Watton At Stone.

"The best thing about volunteering for HHAS is the people - I've met lots of interesting people over the years," said Richard. "There are all sorts of satisfactions you get in the job - it's nice to see people's face light up when they can hear again, or to show them how to work their hearing aid, which has just been sitting in a drawer."

Philip Linnegar, Chief Executive of HHAS, along with guest speaker Tony Stoyles, the Director of England's Deaf Rugby Union, presented Richard 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 can't thank Richard enough for his fifteen years volunteer service. It is only with the help of volunteers like Richard that we are able to offer support to hundreds of people suffering from hearing loss in the area."

Richard has three children and four grandchildren; he has been living in Hertford for 43 years and retired seven years ago from his job as a trading standards enforcement officer. He was initially motivated to volunteer for HHAS as his mother had a hearing aid that "lived in the drawer" as she couldn't work it. A couple of years ago, he was diagnosed with a mild hearing loss and now wears two hearing aids.

"The first time I went for a walk after I got them, I heard bird song for the first time in years - I hadn't even realised that I hadn't been hearing it," said Richard.

The worst thing about hearing loss is the isolation, according to Richard. "Hearing loss isn't like other disabilities - if you break a leg, everyone can see the plaster cast. If someone has a hearing loss they may just sit quietly in a corner and watch what's going on, because they can't hear what's being said," said Richard.

HHAS urgently needs more volunteers in the Hertford 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 volunteering@hhas.org.uk.