Mary has been involved with CanalAbility from the very start when we launched the newly adapted canal boat Stort Challenger. Mary has Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and was initially asked along as a representative of the MS Society and was asked if she would like to volunteer for CanalAbility. Luckily for us she agreed and became our volunteer booking secretary. In time she started crewing the boats and, having a disability herself, Mary finds it easier to empathise with some of our disabled clients. She particularly enjoys talking to different people and chatting with our clients as well as advising them on the telephone about the boat trips.

Meet our volunteers - Mary Cayford

MS has not stopped Mary from leading a busy and active life. Her earlier sailing experiences include entering a leg of the Round Britain Yacht Race with a mixed ability crew, and taking part in two demanding Fastnet Races. She was the coordinator for the MS Society for their sailing trips.

When asked what she gets out of volunteering, Mary replied “What don’t I get out of it?!” mentioning the company, fresh air, challenges, meeting new people and learning new skills all as part of her own experience of volunteering. She finds it especially rewarding to see the difference you can make to other peoples’ lives.

As well as volunteering for CanalAbility, Mary has many other volunteering interests including manning a local community helpline, and driving people to hospital and medical appointments. You may well recognise her lovely smile from a recent volunteering full page advert in the local Harlow Times‘.

If you are interested in getting involved and becoming part of our volunteer team, find out more here.

See more of our volunteer stories…