In 1980 a friend asked if I would join the NSPCC's Dungannon fundraising committee, and since then I haven't looked back.
Now I'm the Dungannon chairman, and though over 35 years much has changed, the fundamental backbone of our committee hasn't; friendship and the desire to give back.
We're a small committee in a rural area; some of us have more time than others, but we all do what we can.
Each year we organise local fundraising events such as fashion shows, coffee mornings, car boot sales, pub quizzes – you name it – all to support children and families across the UK.
Everyone can do their bit; I have friends who will give an hour to help out at a flag day which may seem small but it all adds up. To keep steadily raising money year in year out, that takes determination. But giving up your time can be equally as important. I volunteer for the NSPCC's Young Witness service.
"After 35 years with the NSPCC it's still very rewarding and motivating; to just try and do your bit, to raise money, give back time and improve children's lives."
Jennifer Hobson MBE / Supporter and Young Witness service volunteer
As a former English teacher, I always loved the pastoral side to teaching. I found teaching hugely rewarding and after retiring I wanted to find some way to give back and felt I could bring this skill to the voluntary sector.
After 35 years with the NSPCC it's still very rewarding and motivating; to just try and do your bit, to raise money, give back time and improve children's lives. You're in it together – a committee, a group, an organisation – because something moves you. I was shocked and thrilled to receive an MBE for services to young people in Northern Ireland through the NSPCC.
I feel honoured to receive it for an organisation and cause I love so much. When people in the community hear about my MBE they tell me "Jennifer it's great because you're just ordinary like us".