Meet Dave

Dave is a retired languages teacher who has always played a lot of sport and run numerous marathons for charities. As well as a volunteer speaker for WaterAid he is a keen cyclist and often goes on cycle-camping adventures in France.

How did you first become involved in WaterAid?

I retired in 2006 and wanted to do something useful. I received a leaflet from Welsh Water through the post which featured WaterAid and it stimulated my interest, so I signed up to make a regular contribution. Then I saw some of the TV publicity for WaterAid and it made me think that I could go further. Having perused the website, I sent an e-mail to the London office and asked if I could become a volunteer speaker.

What motivated you to volunteer?

Underlying it all, I felt very fortunate and grateful for what I had in my life. I really wanted to give something back. Anything that can be done to help those less fortunate than ourselves is to be welcomed – I thought I could make a small but positive impact.

What are your favourite parts of your role?

I really enjoy doing the talks. I get a real buzz, whether it be to 10 or 400 people! As a former teacher I feel there is just so much that can be said to engage the audience and it is so beneficial to get the messages across.

What is your favourite memory from your time as a volunteer?

I delivered two presentations to a school in North Wales, where I spoke to the infant and junior pupils. They were full of enthusiasm and, a few days later, I received a large bundle of hand-written letters - one from each of the children - thanking me for giving the talks. It was great to hear that they had really enjoyed it.  

On another occasion I went to deliver a talk and receive a cheque in a school that had raised £100 for WaterAid. Two weeks later, the head teacher contacted me to say the children had responded positively to my input and had raised a further £200! I felt genuinely touched by this as they had really taken in what I had said and been inspired to raise more money for those in need.

Do you have any personal experiences that you mention in talks?

During the summer of 2012 I did a ten-day sponsored bike ride from Cherbourg to Paris and back, raising money for WaterAid. It was a long way and the weather was good – lots of sunshine and high temperatures.

Each day, I made sure I filled up my three water bottles when I set out and replenished them at every opportunity along the way. However, on one particularly hot day, I was drinking copiously and, with a distinct absence of shops and houses, had no chance to refill my bottles. The unthinkable happened – I ran out of water.

At that very moment, hot and extremely thirsty, I knew exactly how it felt not to have water. The relevance and poignancy of this was not lost on me. Luckily, within a few kilometres I came across a house and, to my great relief, the kind occupant let me take as much water as I needed.

I will always remember this occasion. It serves as a vivid reminder of the reason why I'm a volunteer for WaterAid.

Could you become a speaker? We're currently recruiting for new, inspiring ambassadors to join our Speaker Network. We only ask that you're comfortable speaking in public and that you're passionate about what we do. Download the role description or email us for more information at [email protected]