Legion to honour student for 'exceptional' volunteering effort

Issue date: 08 August 2017

Zak Ajjane

A student volunteer has earned special recognition from the Royal British Legion after giving up his time to support the charity over the past four years.

Zak Ajjane, 22, who graduated from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) in aerospace engineering this summer, will receive a Certificate of Appreciation from the Royal British Legion, Gloucestershire County, on Thursday (10 August).

He has been supporting the RBL since 2013, when he signed up at the University's volunteering fair to help the Stoke Gifford Branch.

As a trumpet player, he has performed the Last Post and Reveille at several funerals and memorial services as well as at Armistice Day services. He has also collected donations for the Poppy Appeal, with money going to the charity's Welfare Fund.

David Bell, spokesman for the Stoke Gifford branch of the RBL, said: “Zak has been an exceptional volunteer and a great credit to himself, his family and UWE Bristol.

“His hard work, in so many tasks and in a wide range of activities, has been incredible and he has shown a sense of maturity and dedication that is inspiring.”

John Moloney, Chairman of the Stoke Gifford branch, said: “Zak has been a remarkable student volunteer - in fact he has volunteered over and beyond what I expect of a student.

“He has always been available and has used his experiences with the Legion to encourage other students to come forward.”

The presentation, to be held at The Students' Union at the University's Frenchay Campus, will be attended by several senior members of Gloucestershire County RBL.

Zak said: “It is a great honour to be recognised in this way. I signed up because I feel students should do at least some volunteering while at university.

“As a younger member of the branch I was able to contribute in ways the older members couldn't, such as setting up and running a Facebook page.

“The people involved are all great. I'm looking to join the military myself so that's where the interest comes from.”

Anna Kawar, from UWE Bristol Volunteering, said: “We are really pleased to hear Zak is receiving this award for the fantastic volunteering he has been doing.

“Zak is one of many UWE Bristol students volunteering and we know from our data that 40 per cent of our students are or have been actively engaged in volunteering.

“Volunteering is a great way for students to get involved and make a difference in the community, support not-for-profit organisations, and develop their employability skills at the same time. It is a valuable experience for all involved.”

In recent years UWE Bristol students and staff have raised thousands of pounds for the RBL's Poppy Appeal, most recently collecting nearly £10,000 at local supermarkets and on campus. This has made a significant contribution to the £100,000 raised by the Stoke Gifford Branch in the past two years.

Professor Steve West, Vice-Chancellor at UWE Bristol, said: “I am incredibly proud of the work students do all year round in support of the local community. Every year students raise money for the Poppy Appeal. Zak is a student that has stood out. We are really proud of him – he is an inspiration to us all.”

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