It’s Volunteers Week, and our volunteer journalist Tony Whiting has been chatting to two members of the cathedral community who kindly agreed to talk about the contributions they make…
Far from complaining about being bored, as many people do in the lockdown, Martin and Fiona Pearman have been busier than ever.
Martin, who retired recently as head of Ripon Grammar School, has been a member of Ripon Rotary Club for the last 18 months. Shortly after the lockdown, the club asked him if he would help the local community by collecting prescriptions for people who were self-isolating and he was delighted to answer the call.
“I might do two or three a day, perhaps a couple of days a week, collecting prescriptions from the chemists or the surgery and taking the medication to people in Ripon or the villages around the city. I usually ring the people beforehand so they know I’m coming and they are always glad to see me at a safe social distance of course,” he says.
“I enjoy feeling that I am helping others in the community while I am able to do so. There may come a day when I am not able to and would have to depend on others but that is not the case yet.”
Martin also keeps busy in his retirement with other voluntary work. He is a member of the Ripon Cathedral Development Committee, is a governor of a school in Leeds and in his spare time helps in surveys for adders in the Washburn Valley and hen harriers in the Dales.
Fiona, a churchwarden at the cathedral, works with Canon Ailsa on the pastoral committee. This involves her visiting people in need, perhaps taking them a meal, some soup or a homemade cake. She runs cake stalls for the parochial church council (her chocolate brownies are much sought after) which raise about £400 a year for local charities.
She also finds time to be a governor of Mowbray Special School in Bedale which has 230 pupils with moderate to severe learning difficulties. “I love every minute of it. It is a truly fantastic school, “she says.
At the same time, she still has a day job, one that has acquired huge importance because of Covid 19; she delivers clinical skills education to 120 district nurses and other healthcare workers across a variety of teams. “For the last two months, it has been really busy, training up people who have been redeployed or returned to the NHS in addition to the other duties I used to do before.”
Fiona concludes, “however much one puts into voluntary work, one always gets so much enjoyment out of it. Martin and I are keeping particularly busy at the moment but we know of many other couples who do much more voluntary work than us.”