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Christmas volunteers share their stories

Seventy Crisis at Christmas volunteers have taken to Facebook to share their thoughts and experiences of this year's event.

Rachel Lewin shared a touching musical memory: “I was sitting at the piano and one of the guests came and watched me play. When I noticed him there I asked him if he wanted to play on the piano. For the next few minutes the world stopped as his fingers flew across those keys so fast all you could see was a blur. I just sat there, open-mouthed and overwhelmed and gave him a standing ovation.”

Fran Barrett enjoyed running sporting activities: “I spent my Christmas morning running Wii sport and ping pong competitions – and giving prizes to the winner! Fabulous to see so many competitive faces around.”

Tony Pancaldi wrote: “My three days of volunteering was for me a way to make some sense of Christmas. Things that stood out were that if you removed the badges from volunteers you would have a hard job discerning them from guests.”

Balloon twister Sally Olive Beadle was thrilled to see Tina, a former guest she had met at Crisis at Christmas 2007 who has managed to turn her life around and was volunteering this year. “She was very proud to show me her volunteer’s badge and chat about her time as a kitchen volunteer at the women’s centre this year.”

Atif Rashid wrote: “It was undoubtedly one of the best experiences of my life. . . Great laughs, great people and walked away a better person.”

First time volunteer Caroline O’Leary wrote: “Had a great two days seeing some of the guests come in and get their hair done , teeth looked at and walk out inches taller. . . This was my first year but definitely not my last.”

More than 8,000 people volunteered in Crisis at Christmas centres across London and in Newcastle. Leslie Morphy, chief executive of Crisis, would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to every one of the 8,000 volunteers this year: "Without volunteers giving up their time Crisis at Christmas would simply not be possible.”

Visit Crisis on Facebook to read more inspiring experiences.

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