SPCA names Vol­un­teer of the Year

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - RICHARD MAYS

From lo­cal SPCA vol­un­teer of the month to na­tional vol­un­teer of the year, Palmer­ston North’s Yvette Craven was dumb­founded when told she was the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s top un­paid sup­porter.

The an­nual award was pre­sented at a spe­cial morn­ing tea last week by act­ing SPCA New Zealand CEO An­drea Mid­gen.

Mid­gen praised Craven for hav­ing ‘‘all the at­tributes of a great vol­un­teer who just fits in and does an amaz­ing job’’.

‘‘She has gone away above and be­yond - here, and at the op-shop, so that [other mem­bers of staff] have a slightly less stressed day.’’

Craven has vol­un­teered there for at least the past 12 years.

Con­sid­er­ing the work car­ried out by hun­dreds of SPCA vol­un­teers na­tion­wide, Craven said she was sur­prised enough when she made the short­list of seven in the Purina pet food spon­sored ac­knowl­edge­ment.

Sur­prise turned to ‘‘shock’’ when she heard her­self named the coun­try’s lead­ing vol­un­teer.

‘‘I en­joy it. I’m a ma­jor an­i­mal lover. But there are so many peo­ple [who vol­un­teer] here [in Palmer­ston North] who ab­so­lutely de­serve this. They all do such a good job. [Na­tion­ally] I’m just one of hun­dreds and hun­dreds.’’

Manawatu SPCA man­ager Katie Ped­er­sen had only in­sti­gated a vol­un­teer of the month award at the cen­tre three months ago, with Craven its first re­cip­i­ent.

‘‘She comes in Mon­day and Fri­day af­ter­noons and at other times when we’re short-staffed. Dur­ing the busy sea­son when we have kit­tens ev­ery­where, she turns up and gets stuck in,’’ Ped­er­sen said.

Craven, who has two cats of her own, said her favourite area of the re­fur­bished SPCA was the cat­tery where peo­ple could come and see the cats mov­ing around.

The en­larged ren­o­vated space, opened in Novem­ber 2015, had made a big dif­fer­ence to the way the SPCA was per­ceived, and to the re­ten­tion of vol­un­teers.

‘‘Thank good­ness she stuck around for all these years,’’ Ped­er­sen said.

‘‘Our staff are so grate­ful to have her around be­cause she helps take the pres­sure off. To have a vol­un­teer who can be left to help get the job done has a huge im­pact on the work­load.’’

Craven re­ceived a year’s sup­ply of Purina cat food and a $1000 prezzie card.

Yvette Craven, with Molly, ac­quired from SPCA about 10 years ago, is the SPCA’s na­tional Vol­un­teer of the year.

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