Cathy Gilman
Posted by

Volunteers help us change the world

Cathy Gilman
Posted by
01 Mar 2015

It’s an awfully long time since I was an economics student- nearly 30 years in fact!

When I was a student I did everything except attend lectures! I played hockey, looked for water voles in the River Pinn, had a job at M&S and organised charity events for the Community Action Group. I honed the skills learned at my Granny’s side at Red Cross Jumble Sales and Evergreen outings!

Who knew 30 years later I’d be lucky enough to be CEO of one of the UK’s great charities?

The volunteer ethic of students and their desire and ability to change the world, is something that is very special about living in the UK. Over the years I’ve seen the “Thirsty Thirty” in Manchester raise thousands from a massive, well-organised pub crawl; I’ve seen human trolley dashes; donkey derbies and bed pushes in fancy dress.( It’s surprising how many male students like to dress up as female nurses… just saying!). All in a tremendous effort to make other people’s lives better.

From these moments of madness and treasured memories, philanthropic lives are built, with very many young people continuing to give in many different ways throughout their lives.

I started at the charity as a volunteer - that was more than 15 years ago now and as we come to the end of student volunteering week I’d like to say a huge thank you to the students of Britain who do so much to help make lives better in the UK- I shall raise a glass to you all in celebration!

Would you like to help us beat blood cancer? Check out our volunteer section to find out more about ways you can help us make the world a better place for blood cancer patients and their families.



Fantastic blog, Cathy! I love the idea of you looking for water voles and couldn't agree more with you about the importance of volunteers. If it wasn't for volunteers the charity would never have got off the ground and I probably would not have still been here today as the research that developed my treatment would probably never have taken place!