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27th January 2016

Ex-police officer takes the lead by selling house to save dog charity

Former law enforcer swaps walking the beat for walking the dogs at animal rescue centre

Ahead of its annual Animal Charity awards, Petplan shines a light on the individual it believes to be the most hands-on volunteer in the UK – Ben Wilkes, an ex-police officer from Staffordshire.

A volunteer at the Border Collie Trust GB for 13 years, Ben made the life-changing decision to sell his family home in order to move into the Trust to provide 24-hour care for the dogs, after the former residents left the charity. Initially visiting the Trust in 2002 solely to donate blankets for the dogs under its care, Ben felt compelled to pledge his spare time to the charity as soon as he stepped foot inside the centre.

While he works for the charity on a voluntary basis, he is so committed to helping Border Collies in need, that he has even recruited his own wife to the charity’s cause, with the two of them available day and night for all of the charity’s various needs. From dog walking to DIY, Ben turns his hand to the full range of tasks at the centre.

"Sometimes in life you just happen to be in the right place at the right time – and that was the case with me becoming a volunteer at the Border Collie Trust. I’m now such a part of the furniture that people are surprised when they learn I’m a volunteer – they think it’s my career! Rescue work is a very unusual beast in that it can be very unpredictable, but it’s great bringing the police force mentality to the role as it gives me real focus and structure. "

For his considerable passion and hard work, Ben was presented with Petplan's Animal Charity Volunteer of the Year 2015 award. The accolade celebrates the outstanding work, dedication and commitment of animal charities and not-for-profit organisations across the UK and the charity teams, volunteers and employees that go above and beyond in their mission to improve animal wellbeing.

Petplan’s Head of Marketing, Isabella von Mesterhazy, comments:

"The Petplan and ADCH Animal Charity Awards are a brilliant way for us to support and recognise the teams and individuals at charities, just like Ben. We work with over 1200 animal charities across the UK providing support in a variety of ways to help improve the lives of pets. Last year we were delighted to receive 5,370 nominations for the Animal Charity Awards for those inspiring teams who commit themselves to the care and wellbeing of animals. If you would like your local charity to be in with a chance of winning, nominate them today."

Ben is backing Petplan by encouraging the nation to celebrate the hard work of their favourite animal charity volunteers and nominating them for Petplan's Animal Charity Volunteer of the Year 2016 award. Ben states: "There are thousands of animal charity volunteers across the UK that work tirelessly to help animals in need. These awards are hugely valuable in raising the profile of these individuals and teams."

Nominate at http://www.petplan.co.uk/charityawards/. Nominations close on the 15th February 2016.

Established over 39 years ago, Petplan is the UK's No.1 pet insurance provider, offering comprehensive pet insurance, including Covered For Life® policies for dogs, cats and rabbits. Petplan is part of Allianz Insurance plc, one of the largest general insurers in the UK. For more information visit www.petplan.co.uk