Jim McArthur has been a key member of the Little Wings team. He started as a volunteer driver for Little Wings in September 2015 and was instrumental in developing our Newcastle service. Since that time he has volunteered over 100 driving hours safely transferring 14 Little Wings families to and from much needed specialist appointments at the John Hunter Children’s Hospital in Newcastle. Some of the families Jim has worked with came from as far away as Walgett and Collarenebri.
As well as driving families, Jim also went the extra mile looking after the Little Wings vans and drivers. He took pride in washing and caring for our vans so they provided the most comfortable journey for each family during a difficult time. He also trained new drivers who came on board and this helped us grow the number of volunteers we have available to support families in need.
In the words of Jim:
"I first became involved with Little Wings when it launched in Newcastle in 2015. I was looking for another interest to occupy me during my retirement between our travels and became aware of Little Wings via The Hunter Volunteer Centre website. After making application and attending The Hunter Volunteer Centre for an interview I was contacted by Little Wings and was approved as a driver.
Following the official launch of Little Wings in Newcastle on 29 September, 2015 we commenced to conduct drives of families from Rutherford Airport to The John Hunter Children's Hospital and Ronald McDonald House in the grounds of the hospital. I have been impressed from the start of my association with Little Wings by the dedication of the staff and volunteers of the organisation and the willingness of people to assist the charity unconditionally. The generosity of sponsors such as Clubs NSW, The Newcastle Permanent Charity Foundation and Hyundai Australia, as well as the staff and manager Joel of Sharp Electronics in Lambton for providing us with secure storage for the van.
The time I have spent driving for Little Wings has been greatly rewarding with the knowledge that we have been able in a small way to ease the burden on the children and their families during their visits for specialist's appointments at John Hunter Children's Hospital. It provides a feeling of great purpose to know the anxieties of the families involved can be eased knowing they can be safely and swiftly transported from their remote locations to their specialist's appointments and with a minimum impact upon normal family life at home. I know from my experience as a driver that families are relieved that they do not have to negotiate the busy streets of a large city such as Newcastle on their own after a long journey by car or public transport and appreciate the assistance given to them by our reliable Newcastle Little Wings team to deliver them to the front door of The John Hunter Children's Hospital or their accommodation.
I would encourage anyone who is a competent driver and contemplating a volunteer role to consider The Little Wings organisation as I know they will find the role to be very rewarding and will provide them, as it did me, a feeling of great purpose while assisting families in need. You will experience a very positive aspect of human nature while working with the other volunteers such as all of Little Wings pilots who unselfishly give of their time and unique skills to bring the families to Newcastle and deliver them home swiftly and safely.
I would like to thank Richelle and her dedicated team for providing me with the opportunity to assist with such a worthy organisation that has made the lives of so many children and their families that much easier as they deal with the health issues that require them to travel from remote areas to Newcastle for treatment."