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Well earned . . . .Zest owner Kristy Phillips, Citizens Advice Bureau South Canterbury manager Suzanne Cullimore, volunteer of the month Yvonne Davis, CAB volunteer Marian Blanchard and Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury co-ordinator Lou Billinghurst celebrate Mrs Davis's recognition. PHOTO: CLAIRE ALLISON

by Claire Allison

When Yvonne Davis retired from nursing, she decided she wanted to do something completely different.

That decision has seen her become the latest Volunteering Mid and South Canterbury volunteer of the month, receiving a framed certificate, a pin and a voucher to Timaru restaurant Zest.

Mrs Davis was nominated by Citizens Advice Bureau South Canterbury manager Suzanne Cullimore, who said she was a superb person to have working in the bureau, as chairwoman, trainer, and volunteer, and always ready to fill in when needed.

“Yvonne gives an enormous amount of time to training new volunteers and generally helping the volunteers to do their job, as well as doing her own shift.

“She is always willing to step in and help with any problem, no matter how large or small. Just knowing that Yvonne is there makes us feel more confident in dealing with our clients and their problems.”

Mrs Davis said a friend had volunteered for CAB in Gore, and that prompted her to explore the idea.

“I wanted to do something completely different from what I was doing before.”

A move to her partner’s home town of Timaru to be closer to family and enjoy some better weather saw the local CAB eagerly snapping up Mrs Davis’s skills.

“It’s a good way to learn about the place, and to meet people.”

She signed up seven years ago, and has not left – it seems unlikely she would be allowed to.

“You feel you are helping people .. that’s basically it. It’s the same with any sort of volunteer work, you generally do it to help people, and give something back to society.

“If you’ve had a reasonable life, it’s good to help people one way or another.”

Mrs Davis does a three-hour shift most weeks, covers the law clinic evening once a month, has a training role, and is also in her second year chairing the board.

She is generally the go-to person to fill any gaps in the roster.

“The people that are here, we find do volunteer at other places . . . most of our volunteers do something else as well, whereas I came in fresh, I don’t spread myself out so thinly so I can pick up the others.”