Volunteers' Week: Derek - volunteering in Fife
Volunteers’ Week runs from 1-7 June. To mark the week, Get Out Get Active (GOGA) is celebrating volunteers’ positive impact on the programme. Derek is a peer mentor with Disability Sport Fife (DSF) and GOGA in Fife.
Derek took part for ParalympicsGB in the Rio Games 2016. His greatest success to date is winning gold in the T45/T46 marathon at the IPC World Cup in London this year. Eight years ago, Derek almost lost his life in a motorcycle accident. Exceptional treatment and after-care has enabled Derek to become one of the leading marathon runners in the world with a personal best time of 2:33.24.
In addition to his daily commitment to training, Derek is a peer mentor with Disability Sport Fife (DSF) and GOGA in Fife. For the past year, he has inspired children and young people who attend DSF weekly run, jump and throws sessions. Derek has given a number of talks to primary school children and encouraged Fife youngsters to be active. Derek hopes one day to coach. For the moment he is enjoying his work as a volunteer and support for the DSF coaching team.
DSF supported Derek when he expressed an interest in becoming involved in para-athletics. After eight years as a para-athlete, Derek decided to give time back to the organisation that had supported him at a critical period in his life. What better way than through volunteering? Derek now appreciates that he gets more from the volunteering experience than he puts in.
Derek enjoys the reactions and behaviours of the athletes and believes it is a privilege to work with them. Smiles, laughter, jokes are important but Derek understands how he was once encouraged by others during a low time in his life. He hopes he can inspire young disabled people to be all they can be. Derek appreciates the importance of sport in his life and hopes to convey that message to young learners in the DSF programme. Derek is proud to be an ambassador for DSF and in a position to influence others through sport.
Next to training and competing, Derek believes that there is no better way to make use of your time productively than through volunteering. He recommends giving volunteering a go. There is something out there for everybody and many organisations willing to sign up enthusiastic individuals of all ages. Derek believes that one of the best decisions he made was to commit his limited leisure time to the sport he loves.