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For this year’s Volunteers Week (3 - 9 June), we are joining organisations from across the nation to celebrate the incredible contribution volunteers make to local communities.  

The campaign takes place on the first Monday of June every year and is an opportunity for organisations to recognise, celebrate and thank the volunteers for the important difference they make.

As the Volunteer Manager for DAA’s 650 plus volunteers, Vicky Thresher said:

‘We are looking forward to taking part in this campaign again, alongside The Big Help Out where we will be offering the people of Devon who are interested in volunteering with us the chance to attend taster and information sessions.  

'This week is not just about the value volunteering brings to DAA, but also celebrating the benefits it has on an individual, such as learning new skills, confidence building and becoming part of an amazing community. Volunteering for a local charity can give people a sense of purpose and achievement. All our 650 volunteers are unique with their own skills and experience that are invaluable to us. 

Our mission at DAA is to create a meaningful and inclusive volunteering experience which supports time-critical care through prevention, treatment, and recovery.  

‘Having recently updated and launched our new Volunteer Strategy we estimate that DAA volunteer hours saved the organisation over £1M in 2023, which is equal to the cost of 242 missions. Our volunteers are lifesavers, and we are looking forward to sharing their experiences and stories throughout Volunteers' Week.’  

We have an extensive range of volunteering roles across the organisation, from bucket collectors, retail volunteers and event volunteers, to those who give talks to the community to raise awareness of the charity's life-saving work.  

Volunteering is also a way that many former patients choose to give back to DAA. One former patient who chose to donate his time is Steve Knight.

From patient to volunteer

In June 2022, Steve was using his tractor to carry cold-lay tarmac to fix some potholes in his drive. However, Steve’s tractor had no working handbrake and he had to stop and start the engine manually. Unfortunately, on this day, Steve’s well-practiced routine of starting and stopping his tractor did not go to plan, and he found himself pinned between a running tractor and a fence. Steve said:

I remember being pulled down between the tractor and the fence, but I don’t really remember feeling much pain. My right arm was pinned under the wheel of the tractor. 

A neighbouring farmer called 999 and our crew was dispatched to assist. Upon arrival, the crew fully assessed Steve to ascertain what sort of injuries he may have sustained, and the tractor was moved to enable his arm to become free. He was treated and prepared for a flight to Derriford Hospital.

Steve was found to have suffered extensive internal injuries and was placed into an induced coma for almost two months to help his body recover. Reflecting on this incident following his recovery, Steve said:  

‘I feel I owe Devon Air Ambulance so much, but don’t have much money to donate. Volunteering my spare time seems the least I can do to help in some way.’  

In January 2024, Steve began volunteering to give back to the charity that helped him. Steve is an avid photographer, making him the perfect fit for the role of retail photographer supporting DAA’s e-commerce and eBay teams. Steve takes high-quality images of the kindly donated stock, ready for listing online. Vicky Thresher commented:

‘We are so grateful that Steve is keen to donate his time and has chosen to give back by volunteering with us. Everyone at Devon Air Ambulance is thrilled to welcome him to the team!’ 
Are you interested in volunteering or do you want to find out more about just how rewarding volunteering can be at Devon Air Ambulance?

Why volunteer?