The Hull FC Community Foundation caught up with Dennis Harrison, a local veteran volunteering with the club, giving him a great sense of pride and satisfaction.
Ahead of Hull FC’s Armed Forces Day fixture against Leeds Rhinos on Saturday, we caught up with another veteran, Jason, earlier in the week.
Now it’s the turn of Dennis, who, after coming along to the veteran’s coffee mornings, began volunteering at the Hull FC Community Hub at the MKM Stadium.
Through the week, Dennis takes care of the grounds of the Community Hub, cutting the grass, trimming hedges and cleaning up any litter, assisted by his four-legged canine friend, Daisy.
“I started coming to the veterans coffee mornings and it worked out quite nicely with me being a big Hull FC fan since the age of 8,” Dennis explained.
“After a short while, I got the opportunity to start volunteering around the club facility and I jumped at the chance.
“I was initially involved in the gardening club as part of the Armed Forces Community Hub, but it wasn’t 100% what I wanted. So when I got asked if I would like to volunteer to help around the club facility, there wasn’t really a second thought for me.
“All of the staff and management that work in the Community Hub are absolutely fantastic. Hull FC’s like a family – when I’m doing the gardening people will pop their head out of their offices to say how good it looks and that gives me a real sense of satisfaction and personal pride.
“Even Adam Pearson, the Chairman of Hull FC, has come outside to speak to me to say what a great job I’ve been doing and that means a lot to me.
“It’s fantastic and I enjoy coming here every day. It just gets me out of the house and I get to speak to some lovely people.”
Dennis has reaped the rewards of the impact of the veteran’s coffee mornings, turning a two-hour session every Wednesday morning into a week-long volunteering role with the club he holds so close to his heart.
On top of Dennis’ voluntary role, he has also undertaken and passed a Level 3 First Aid course through the Community Foundation at the Hub.
It’s important that Hull can support Dennis, giving something back to him after an incident that took place just over a decade ago.
“I had an accident about 12 years ago and I couldn’t walk. I cried because I thought my life was over, and I thought what I could possibly do. But I started to buy gardening equipment and I thought I could start doing bits here and there to keep myself relatively mobile,” he said.
“Thankfully I now have the opportunity to put all of that gardening equipment into good use here at the Hull FC Community Hub.
“I do now spend the large majority of my time down at Hull FC and it has changed my life for the better in the last few months.
“As I say, I love it here. It’s like one big family and it feels so rewarding.”