Meet Harry who was awarded for five years of service to PAT testing

All this month we are talking about volunteering and have caught up with some of our volunteers to find out why they enjoy helping us.

We have had a good chat with Harry, who has just been awarded a certificate for 5 years of service to PAT testing at our Watford shop. He tells us all about why he started volunteering for us, a bit about his past, and what he gets up to on a day-to-day basis.

"My name is Harry Blatch, now 78, and I have been volunteering since I retired in 2010. My background is in Applied Physics with a post graduate qualification in Non-Destructive Testing.

My working life has been in electrical & electronic test equipment, including running Electrical Safety Testing courses (PAT Testing) for my last employer.

My hobbies include photography, table tennis (to try and stay fit), hobby electronics and bridge.

For the past five years I have been working at the Watford Retail Shop with the manager, Sally Hawkins. I have been carrying out electrical safety testing on donated products for sale, a mandatory requirement covered by a legally enforceable code of practice. Similarly, it is a requirement to carry out tests periodically for appliances used in the shop, now done annually. I also run NAWT PAT testing training courses. We have a couple of volunteer evenings a year, usually a dinner out organised by Sally, which I assist with, since we all get on very well.

Space is limited at the Watford shop, so I collect donated electricals and return the tested ones on alternate Thursday afternoons, usually 20-30 items. This can be interesting with larger appliances, such as TV’s, vacuum cleaners etc. trying to fit them all into my car! Working at home is ideal, since I have space and access to a range of tools and electrical test equipment. It is not unusual to have to replace fuses, plugs, lamps (incorrectly called “bulbs”, which are things you plant in the garden!) and rewire mains leads. I typically spend 2 to 3 mornings a week

testing and ensuring the appliances works correctly.

I had been volunteering with Peace Hospice and Michael Sobell Hospice since retirement. It was until my wife became seriously ill, requiring me to become a 24-7 Carer; it was a privilege to be able to do so! Sadly, she passed over in March 2019. I was walking past the NAWT Watford shop one day, and recognised Sally through the window, as we had worked together at the Peace Hospice. I went into the shop, talked about old times, and I happily agreed to volunteer as a PAT tester. I have never looked back, Sally helped me at a difficult time and has become a good friend. I love pets, having had dogs, cats, a hamster and two rabbits; I visit donkey sanctuaries occasionally.

I plan to continue with this for the foreseeable future, but have trained a successor, Mark, just in case!

Volunteering is both enjoyable and most rewarding. The NAWT is a VITALLY important refuge for pets. Debbie, the area manager, is very supportive and friendly!"

Thank you so much Harry for everything you do, and for taking the time to talk to us. We hope to see you for another 5 years and more!

Are you feeling inspired? If you would be interested in volunteering for us, please get in contact with your nearest shop here, or centre here.