Many years ago Tony Quaid, who is Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury and the Hotel Ashburton Volunteer of the Month, was working full time and didn’t think he had time to volunteer.
At the same time he was helping look after Miss Fowke and Miss Duckworth’s Welsh Ponies and was asked by the ladies if he would help Mid Canterbury Riding for the Disabled (RDA) with their secretarial work.
Tony says at the time there was no reason for him to say no, and he took on the role of secretary from the late Jack Thompson.
It was the beginning of forty five years volunteering with the organisation as a “quiet backroom worker”; including 20 years as secretary and 20 years as treasurer.
He filled the secretarial role for around 20 years before he decided it was time to move on and he resigned.
But that resignation really turned out to be a leave of absence because within a few months he was asked to be treasurer and again he had no reason to say no. In fact Tony admits he can’t say no, and his skills – which he says are limited – were gleaned from his time “doing a bit of accountancy work for PGG Trust”.
He, alongside wife, Liz – also a volunteer – have worked together in each of their roles; Liz helps Tony with his RDA volunteering and Tony supports Liz in her volunteer roles with the Ashburton Museum and Save the Children.
Doing the books is not the only way Tony helps out at RDA. Among other things he is involved in fundraising, too.
But he is quick to acknowledge there are many other people who also volunteer and support RDA, which was evident in the buildings and land funded by the hard work of those volunteers.
He says during his time as treasurer the work has been pretty straight forward, but the introduction of charities reporting has increased the workload.
Tony says the RDA team are a “good and happy team” and he enjoys being involved with them.
He says volunteering is about being part of a team and feeling you are useful in the community. Every person who volunteers has skills they bring and the different skills make the organisation whether it’s volunteering to wash dishes, raise funds, help at working bees, administration work, picking up poo, cleaning saddles, working with the children and the horses, there are roles for a variety of people who want to volunteer with RDA.
“It’s important in the community that people volunteer, and if each person does something for someone else, even if it’s only small, it adds to the quality of life for the citizens of that community.”
Groups are encouraged to get nominations in for the Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury & the Hotel Ashburton Volunteer of the Month. Nomination forms are available by contacting Volunteering Mid & South Canterbury, Community House, 44 Cass Street Ashburton, ph 3081237 ext 240 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or pick up a copy at Four Square in Rakaia.