Geoffrey, who lives in Devizes, has spent the last year working with one of our volunteer reading coaches.
It’s just been our pleasure to present him with a certificate and book token to reward his huge efforts in developing his reading confidence.
It was also his coach Anthony’s first experience in a role that can be incredibly rewarding.
Now we need more people like Anthony to ensure we can help more people like Geoffrey.
Anthony thoroughly recommends volunteering as a reading coach.
“I would say go for it. You can see someone develop in front of you. I have got a hell of a lot out of it. It’s such a valuable thing to do.”
He said he had received great support from Read Easy.
Coaches normally meet the reader they are working with twice a week for around half an hour.
The key characteristics required include empathy, because most readers have had a difficult experience at school, and will have had to summon up courage to return to reading – but also flexibility.
We’re also keen to expand the number of volunteer coordinators organising our work in the north and west of the county.
The role involves meeting new readers and matching them to coaches, and helping with ongoing training.
It’s incredibly rewarding, and you get to meet a wide range of interesting people, and know that you’re contributing to a very worthwhile cause.
To find out more about volunteering as a coach or coordinator, contact Sue Williams on
07367 100 936 or email [email protected].
To find out more about learning to read, contact Heather Morrison 07367 100 936 or email [email protected].
For Geoffrey, his next step is to begin reading a classic novel that has a special connection.
As a young man, he was one of hundreds of people who formed an army of extras for filming of the movie 1984 in Wiltshire.
Geoffrey and his dad were among the hordes of local men who donned a distinctive uniform of overalls and had their hair shorn for a scene in the film, which was released in the year of its title.
It starred John Hurt and Richard Burton, with buses transporting the extras from the TA Centre in Swindon to an old airfield at Hullavington.
Geoffrey remembers they all had to strike a defiant arms-crossed pose – and that the food ran out before he could eat on the day.
His dad ended up sitting next to Burton, who played O’Brien in the movie.
They were paid £25 each for their efforts.
His newfound reading confidence has already seen him devour a Western novel, but he is now embarking on George Orwell’s 89,000-word classic.