Charity woodpile is an idea that stacks up

FOUR Alderney Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students have used their spare time to produce 20 boxes of logs and kindling for the island’s elderly.

Age Concern’s Barbara Benfield (centre) with volunteer woodcutters (from left) Kaitlin Donaldson, Joe Stanley, Dante Walker and Jamie Blackham.
Age Concern’s Barbara Benfield (centre) with volunteer woodcutters (from left) Kaitlin Donaldson, Joe Stanley, Dante Walker and Jamie Blackham.

FOUR Alderney Duke of Edinburgh’s Award students have used their spare time to produce 20 boxes of logs and kindling for the island’s elderly.

Kaitlin Donaldson, Joseph Stanley, Jamie Blackham and Dante Walker have spent a strenuous hour and a half after school every Friday for the past three months sawing up the logs for their silver and bronze awards, and last week finally saw the results of their labours gratefully received by Help the Aged.

James Walker, Island Construction and Tony Bohan contributed most of the beams and pallets while Steve Wall, silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award instructor, collected logs and branches whenever he could to add to their store. Mr Wall has been supervising the students as they saw wood into useable six- to eight-inch lengths in the woodwork studio.

‘The students knew I cut wood for elderly people already and asked if they could do it for their voluntary work, and I thought of Barbara Benfield at Age Concern,’ he explained. ‘I think they have done a really good job, above and beyond what was expected of them. I’ve been really pleased with their application.

‘They benefit from it and so does the wider community. It’s nice to have that link between young and old.’

Joe Stanley, 15, who is studying for his silver award, is pursuing photography for the skill part of the challenge and is doing cross-country with Alderney Running Club for the sport requirement.

‘I’d never cut up wood before this, but I’m enjoying it,’ he said. ‘It builds up your strength and it’s nice doing something to help the elderly.’

Last Friday Ms Benfield took collection of the wood in her van and set off to make surprise deliveries to at least six residents. In December, members of the Rotary Club had cut wood up for Help the Aged deliveries.

‘The [recipients] love it and it makes a huge difference,’ she said.

‘I would like to say thank you to them [the students] for helping the island’s elderly survive the winter.

‘For the elderly – and the young – a little helps, especially if [it means] they can spend a little less on fuel. The wood they have cut is clean and easy to handle – they’ve done a great job.’

And they’re not done yet. Silver award students Kaitlin, Joseph and Jamie plan to spend another three months sawing wood every Friday.