With Valentine’s Day approaching we caught up with two couples who make helping Noah’s Ark a real family affair.

Shawn and Samantha Anderson both volunteer for Noah’s Ark – Shawn as a photographer, Samantha as a Home Support Volunteer.

Says Shawn: “As a couple, it’s always great to have a shared interest. I believe it strengthens an already amazing bond between us by showing each other that there is more to life than the day-to-day routines most couples go through.”

Shawn started his volunteering after photographing our 2015 Rainbow Run. “I feel that the services offered by Noah’s Ark are incredibly important to the families who seek their help. I see the joy on the faces of the children and it brings me great joy capturing those moments. If photographing a smile on a child’s face helps to further Noah’s Ark’s mission to provide support, I have done my part to help.”

Samantha has been volunteering since October 2016. “I had been aware of Noah’s Ark since 2008 through my own work in palliative care within the NHS and have seen first-hand the amazing work Noah’s Ark does. I personally know many families and children who have benefited from the services that are provided and the support that is offered to not only the child that is ill but to the whole family.

“I visit siblings of a Noah’s Ark child to play games and do crafts and activities with them. In this volunteer role I am able to give the children dedicated time, solely for them, as I am aware their parents have to dedicate a great deal of time to caring for their ill sibling.”

Noah’s Ark supporters, Mick and Chris Beswick, who will celebrate their golden wedding anniversary this spring, have raised funds for Noah’s Ark and are both looking to join us as volunteers. Mick is in the process of becoming a Home Support Volunteer, while Chris is considering the best option for her.

A former postman, Mick was working part-time for another children’s charity but decided on volunteering as he approached retirement.

“I’ve done paid work all my life and want to give something back to the community,” he said. “I wanted to give Noah’s Ark my support, especially with the good news about the new building. During my training modules to become a Home Support Volunteer I’m learning a lot about the hospice and how it helps children, and their parents as well.

“I’ve been impressed by the enthusiasm there is for Noah’s Ark. The staff really do seem to have a love for the job. Their commitment is first class; it’s inspiring to a volunteer!”

The couple play the Noah’s Ark lottery and Chris knits toys and clothes for our charity shops. They first became involved with Noah’s Ark when they both celebrated their 70th birthdays and asked guests to give a donation to the charity instead of a gift, raising £600. “Rather than have presents that would probably end up in your charity shop, we decided that if people wanted to they could donate money to Noah’s Ark,” says Mick.

So as they approach their half-century together, could their shared commitment to worthwhile causes be part of their secret? Mick isn’t sure but tells us: “We’ve been through various things. We help each other, like to do things together, although not everything … I like football Chris can’t stand football. And we never go to sleep on an argument!”

If you’re interested in volunteering for Noah’s Ark, alone or as a couple, find out more here.