Good Samaritan hit by illness is recycle champ

Redditch Advertiser: WEAR IT WITH PRIDE: Gareth Owen shows off volunteers’ T-shirt. Picture: Paul Jackson WEAR IT WITH PRIDE: Gareth Owen shows off volunteers’ T-shirt. Picture: Paul Jackson

A GOOD Samaritan fighting for normality after years of illness joined up with a charity to get people recycling – and smashed his target of environmentally friendly pledges at the Victorian Christmas Fayre.

Gareth Owen, of Pinvin, near Pershore, took on the challenge from Vinspired to create a team of volunteers to benefit Worcestershire despite being diagnosed with neurosarcoidosis – inflammation of the brain affecting the nervous system.

The 23-year-old displayed a Recycling Tree at the fayre on Sunday, December 1, outside the Guildhall for people to hang up their pledges towards saving the environment.

He said: “It went really well. We got far more than the target amount of pledges, which was 30, and got around 70.

“It was such an amazing time. We had lots of volunteers. They were brilliant and very interested in the campaigns.”

Recycling was the first of three campaigns to be given to Mr Owen by the unique nine-month leadership and volunteering programme powered by young people who are socially aware and want to change things for the better.

“People pledged things like ‘I will not be buying Christmas cards this year’ and to recycle more or not buy anything for yourself for a week.”

He hoped that at the end of the campaign people would be wiser when it came to throwing stuff away and instead up-cycle, recycle or give to charity.

Mr Owen said he discovered the programme after going to a graduate fair to find a job, but as he has had to undergo continuous testing for unknown illnesses, and has ended up in hospital on various occasions, he had not been able to find any work.

He said: “The various illnesses included Bells Palsey twice, loss of central vision in my right eye and movement in my right leg. I wanted to get some normality in my life so that is why I did Team V. I really enjoy being given the opportunity to put back into the community.”

Those interested in volunteering towards his cause and becoming a member of Team V Worcester, contact Tilly at Worcester Volunteer Centre on 01905 24741.

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