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Battersea’s longest serving volunteer clocks up 30 years support

Laurence Ackland Smith is Battersea Dogs and Cats Home’s longest serving volunteer, and has recently celebrated 30 years of supporting the charity. To mark the achievement, Battersea staff and volunteers got together at the Home to throw Laurence a celebratory party.

A long term dog lover, Laurence started volunteering as a dog walker for Battersea on 16 October 1986. It was the solution to the problem of his son being allergic to dogs, which meant that the family were unable to have a dog of their own. Since then, Laurence has given 12,000 hours of his time, walking dogs for around 7,500 miles which translates to roughly 290 marathons!

Peter Laurie, Battersea’s Director of Operations, and Charlotte Fielder, Head of Volunteering & Fostering, presented a Certificate of Achievement to Laurence, who said it is his “love of dogs and the appreciation from the charity” that has kept him volunteering with the Home for so long. Laurence gave an acceptance speech, and began by making it clear he has not stopped volunteering for Battersea - “If you think this is a retirement speech, it isn’t!”

Laurence particularly enjoys the Home's monthly visits to the Home’s monthly visits to the Chelsea Pensioners at the neighbouring Royal Hospital. These visits provide the pensioners with cuddles and interactions with the lovely Battersea dogs. Laurence has been visiting the Royal Hospital since 2010, and pensioners and staffe alike appreciate his efforts so much that they threw him an additional party during his most recent visit.

It is thanks to the People's Postcode Lottery that Battersea has the funds to recognise and reward their volunteers' achievements.

Charlotte Fielder, Battersea’s Head of Volunteering & Fostering commented, “Laurence is a hero at Battersea, not just because he has been volunteering with us for so long, but because he is such a committed, reliable and lovely person. He totally embodies the values of the Home and he continually demonstrates love, care and respect for our animals.”

Battersea has a variety of volunteer vacancies and if you would like to get involved, you can find details on their website - www.battersea.org.uk/support-us/volunteer/current-volunteer-vacancies.

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