Hendon woman named volunteer of month by hearing dog charity

Maxine Clare began volunteering for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People after being partnered with her own hearing dog, cocker spaniel Walter in 2015

A woman and a cocker spaniel
Maxine Clare and hearing dog, cocker spaniel Walter

A deaf woman from Hendon has been named Volunteer of the Month by assistance dog charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, for her ‘limitless enthusiasm and infectious energy’.

Maxine Clare, 59, is part of a network of volunteers who give their spare time to help the charity, whether by becoming a volunteer puppy trainer, a speaker, or by organising and helping out at fundraising events.

Maxine began volunteering for the charity shortly after being partnered with her own hearing dog, cocker spaniel Walter, in 2015. Since then, she has raised over £5,500 individually and organised countless fundraising events, including an Ugly Bug Ball for Halloween and a fundraising garden party for her friend’s son Finley’s 13th birthday party.

Nicholas Orpin, Hearing Link Services Delivery Manager for the charity, described Maxine as a ‘one-off’, saying the charity was very lucky to count her as one of its volunteers.

“Maxine’s enthusiasm is really infectious and hard to resist when it is focussed on raising funds and awareness of our charity, or helping people directly manage their hearing. Her enviable contact book, coupled with her outgoing personality and drive, mean that she’s one of those exceptional people who not only has ideas, she also makes them happen.”

Maxine’s hearing began deteriorating from the age of 13. She is now profoundly deaf and wears a cochlear implant. She said: “My world felt so much safer after Hearing Dogs for Deaf People found Walter – the perfect dog for me.

“Apart from helping people to see I’m deaf when we’re out and about, he alerts me to sounds I would otherwise miss. Before, if I was home alone or staying in a hotel, I didn’t like taking my cochlear implant off because I couldn’t hear anything at all. Now I sleep soundly, confident in the knowledge that Walter will wake me up if the smoke alarm goes off or if someone comes to the door.”

Maxine said that receiving such an accolade from the charity was ‘a wonderful surprise’. “I feel so blessed to have Walter and to benefit from the other technologies that help to make my everyday life easier – that’s why I want to give back to the charity.

“I’ve been volunteering for Hearing Dogs for eight years now and the honeymoon period hasn’t worn off yet, so I’ll keep spreading the word until my batteries run out!”

“I’m also passionate about deaf awareness. I’d like us to get to a position where when people speak to someone and they don’t respond, their first thought is that they may be deaf – not ignorant or stupid.

Volunteer of the Month was introduced by the charity in 2012 to recognise volunteers who live and breathe the charity’s values of kindness, professionalism and courage, have done something exceptional, consistently go the extra mile, or whose understated volunteering should be brought to the fore.Anyone who would like to find out more about volunteering for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People can visit the charity’s website, send an email to: [email protected] or call 01844 348129.

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