Photo of our volunteers at Woody's Lodge
Volunteer at Woody's

Volunteer at Woody’s Lodge

Woody’s Lodge is always on the lookout for more volunteers to add to our team. More than anything, we need your time! Our volunteers provide support for veterans in a variety of ways from providing one-on-one guidance with form filling to ensure they’re getting the right financial or health support to sitting down with a brew and a biscuit to have a light chat with a veteran that might have become a bit isolated. We often have activity days to help families re-engage with each other and we’re always on the lookout for volunteers for these days, helping to make tea, run activities and generally, being a friendly face.

If you think you have some time to volunteer with us at either our North or South Wales sites, Woody’s Lodge would love to hear from you! Contact the team on 01446 781792 (South Wales) or 01492 533954 (North Wales). You can also drop us an email at support@woodyslodge.org

Meet our Volunteers and Trustees!

Margot Deveraux-Nisbet – Volunteer and Chair of the Management Board

Margot has lived in Cardiff for over 20 years, she joined the WRAF in 1977 and served for 10 years finishing her military career at 45 of TT, RAF St. Athan.

She is happily married, has a daughter and step-daughter who both keep her up to date with latest fashions and trends.

She spent the last 13 years working for an older people charity within the physical activities programme and is a fully qualified Nordic walking instructor, chair-based exercise instructor and a Tai Chi instructor. She has now retired but enjoys spending her time with her husband, daughters and walking her dogs.

Margot is a volunteer here at Woody’s Lodge and Chair of the Trustee Management Board.

Alicia Woodland – Volunteer and Trustee to the Management Board

Alicia has been with Woody’s Lodge from the very beginning, volunteering her time and is also a Trustee to the Management Board. Alicia is Paul Woodland’s (Woody) mother and as well as bringing up Jamie and Paul, donating her time to us at Woody’s Lodge, she has been a childminder and carer.

Alicia was born in Cardiff and was brought up in Penarth where she still lives in her childhood home. Her dad was Polish, who came to Wales after fighting for the Polish Army in the Second World War.

Since Paul’s passing she has raised lots of money for military charities, including taking part in a sky dive! She has contributed to local military organisations by organising coffee mornings and raffles.

She enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, shopping, cooking, baking and walking.

Andrew Larkin – Volunteer

Andrew was born in Hastings, England, in 1957. He was raised in Bexhill and left full time education at 18 years old. Andrew has always worked with people in a range of roles from working as a Guide, Nurseryman and a Shop Keeper. As well as unfortunate long bouts of unemployment.

Andrew was involved in a terrible accident 35 years ago, when he was crushed after being knocked off of his bicycle. 2 years, 2 months and 2 days later, he met his wife, Carol. Despite only knowing Carol for six months, Andrew moved to Leicester to be with her where they lived for over twenty years. From Leicester they moved to Pencoedtre Village, South Wales and now live in St. Athan.

Andrew personally understands and can emphasise with a lot of the veterans that visit us at Woody’s Lodge, due to his own physical difficulties from the accident 35 years ago. He enjoys giving his time to Woody’s and the camaraderie he has with the veterans, especially the chance to have a bit of a joke and banter over a cup of tea!

Carole Alexander – Volunteer and Secretary of the Management Board

Carole has been with Woody’s Lodge from the beginning and is a Trustee and Secretary to the Management Board, as well as volunteering her time with us. She has lived in Penarth for over 30 years, although is originally from Port Talbot.  She joined the Women’s Royal Navy Service in 1971 and served for 2 years, where she was based at the Royal Marine Barracks at Eastney, working at DPRORM. She moved back to South Wales when she left the WRNS and got married and spent the next 12 years raising her son and daughter.She has over 23 years’ experience in local government, working as Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive and 15 years as Personal Assistant to the Mayor. She retired in 2015 and now works part time as Clerk to a local Community Council.

She enjoys spending time with her three grandsons, gardening, knitting, crossword puzzles and yoga.

Kath Fisher – Volunteer and Trustee to the Management Board

Kath has been with Woody’s Lodge from the beginning and is a Trustee to the Management Board, as well as volunteering her time with us. She served for six years in the Royal Air Force as an Air Traffic Control Officer, serving at RAF Odiham as well as undertaking a tour of active service in Basrah in Iraq in 2004.

Woody’s Lodge is a keen interest of Kath’s, especially as she has the unique insight of what it means to be a veteran herself.

In addition to her time here with us at Woody’s, Kath works with the National Police Air Service flying out of St. Athan after 5 years working with the South Wales Police Force, as well as volunteering at the RNLI.

As well as all of her work and volunteering, Kath also spends her free time organising fundraisers to raise money for us here at Woody’s Lodge as well as for veterans locally.

Brian Elliott – Volunteer

Brian was born in Ashton under Lyne in 1948 and joined the RAF at 17 years old, in which he served for 5 years. He also served with the Territorial Army for 12 years. 

Following his military service, he worked in engineering for a number of years. However, in 1978 his career took a different turn and he became a Psychiatric Nurse and attained a certificate in Counselling at Swansea University.  In the mid-1980s, he broke service to become a hospital officer at HMP Swansea but returned to psychiatric nursing after 5 years. 

Since retiring, Brian has kept busy with part time and volunteering work.  He now volunteers at Woody’s Lodge for 4 days a week. 

Brian is a fitness addict and enjoys working out at the gym. 

Mike Feaney – Vice Chair of the Management Board

Mike served for 25 years as a Chartered Engineer Officer in the Royal Navy and was the Chief Engineer of HMS CARDIFF for 2 years. 

Leaving in 2009, he managed facilities at BBC Radio and a government crisis management centre.   

In June 2018, he became Head of Estates, Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Wales at Maindy Barracks.

Mike is Secretary for the Captain Scott Society, a volunteer lock-keeper and a member of the Veterans Advisory Pension Group.

Having returned to his native city of Cardiff, Mike is keen to share his varied experiences supporting other veterans throughout Wales.

Martin Rivers – Treasurer of the Management Board

Martin is Treasurer of the Management Board. 

Judy Thomas – Trustee to the Management Board

After leaving school in 1963, Judy began working for the Ministry of Defense in London. She then had a varied career within the civil Service which, culminated in working for the DHSS based in Cardiff. Judy has been married to her husband, who has now retired, for 39 years. Since retiring, Judy’s husband now does most of the cooking and chores around the house. This is lucky for Judy as she’s always running around!

Judy’s father had an entire career in the RAF spanning some 57 years. He enrolled during World War 2 and finished as a Sqn Ldr (Squadron Leader) and later transferring to the Foreign Office.

After the war her father was then based at several RAF stations and Judy’s early days were spent in Cyprus, Germany and London.  It was whilst Judy’s father was based in London that she began working at the MOD.

Following her retirement from the Civil Service, she was kept busy by getting involving in voluntary work. For several years, Judy has been a prison visitor at Cardiff Prison.

Judy also acts as a custody visitor for the South Wales Police force, visiting custody suits mainly in Cardiff, but also Merthyr and Bridgend. Additionally, she is an Animal Welfare visitor checking on the well-being of the South Wales Police dogs and horses, which are kept in Bridgend.

Judy started work as a Support Officer for Woody’s Lodge in October 2017. Her role is to help with the benefit needs of service veterans. This involves giving advice where needed and support with completion of benefit forms, which can be time-consuming and complicated. 

She finds the work extremely rewarding, although it can be upsetting at times hearing veterans’ stories. At the end of the day it is very worth-while activity and brings Judy great satisfaction.

Karen Hughes – Trustee to the Management Board

Karen was born in Castleford, West Yorkshire. Her father was in the Royal Navy so she grew up moving from one end of the country to the other.  

She moved to Wales after a varied career including window display and running her own model agency. 

Seventeen years ago, she married Nigel who was serving in South Wales Police Force.  They have a daughter who is now studying for her G.C.S.Es. Nigel was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 8 years ago.

Karen was introduced to Woody’s Lodge in January 2017 after searching for somewhere that Nigel could go where he wouldn’t feel judged and could relate to friends from a similar background.

Karen became a Woody’s Lodge Trustee to the management board in November 2017.

She enjoys art, particularly ceramics, gardening, walking, yoga and spending time with her daughter.

Volunteer at Woody’s Lodge

If you would like to volunteer at Woody’s Lodge, then please call us on 01446 78179 (South Wales) or 01492 533954 (North Wales).

You can also email us at support@woodyslodge.org

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