Young Citizen nominee inspiring new volunteers for Woodford Green hospice

A former hairdresser is using his passion for volunteering at Haven House Children’s Hospice to inspire other volunteers.

Ricky Chalkley, of Burney Drive, Loughton, is in the running for the Exchange Ilford-sponsored Recorder/Redbridge Rotary Club Young Citizen Award.

The 23-year-old has been working two days a week at the Woodford Green Hospice for nine months and hopes to keep volunteering while studying at college.

Ricky was a hair stylist for five years in Loughton but decided on a career change.

He said: “I found it wasn’t for me so now I’m doing a business and accounting course at Hertford Regional College.


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“I might go to university but I’d love to carry on working for Haven House as a full member of staff.”

Ricky started volunteering after mum Tona, a nurse at the hospice, suggested he try it.

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He said: “I love getting involved in the wonderful things we do here and working alongside people who are passionate about what they do.”

Ricky has been working as a volunteer co-ordinator for the hospice but has also helped with events and fundraising.

He has even dressed up as mascot Henry the Hound and the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow, from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Ricky said: “I got to dress as Jack Sparrow to launch the new pirate ship play area in April. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?”

Volunteer manager Vanessa Theed said Ricky mastered the fictional pirate’s character by watching the film.

She added: “The kids absolutely loved it. Ricky is such a fun person and you couldn’t ask for anyone nicer.

“He’s just been so open and willing to do everything. No job is too big or small, he’s really mucked in.

“When we are recruiting volunteers they can all see his enthusiasm and that inspires them as well.”

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