Twenty one year-old Zara Werner, from Herne Bay, is getting
ready to be awarded the Cinnamon Trust Young Volunteer of the Year
award at the world's greatest dog show, Crufts, next month.
Zara, who is currently at Canterbury Christ Church University
studying events management, first started volunteering in 2011 when
she was taking part in her Duke of Edinburgh Gold award. She wanted
to choose a charity where she was able to help someone in her local
community on a personal level; this is where she found the Cinnamon
Trust, the national charity for the elderly, the terminally ill and
At first Zara was paired with a young energetic dog who calmed
down considerably for her elderly owner after frequent walks with
the young volunteer. After a short break from volunteering, Zara
soon began helping with the Cinnamon Trust again, this time walking
the dogs of an older woman whose recent surgery meant she was
unable to give her pets any exercise. She walked them every week
until their owner was back on her feet.
Zara met Maureen Sharp and her two dogs, Candy and Toffee, in
2014, and has been walking the dogs every week, come rain or shine,
ever since. Zara and Maureen have also struck up a strong
friendship, and both women look forward to each other's company
each week, Maureen even regards Zara as her honorary
Despite finishing her Duke of Edinburgh award, Zara is
continuing to volunteer for Maureen and others whilst juggling
university work and a part time job in a bar.
Speaking about her win, Zara said: "I feel honoured to be have
been chosen out of all the other amazing volunteers! It was such a
shock when I was informed as volunteering has become part of my
weekly routine so it's easy to forget you are actually
volunteering. I am really grateful to the Cinnamon Trust for
When speaking about heading to Crufts next month, Zara said: "I
have watched Crufts growing up as a child, so it is a really
exciting opportunity for me to go, let alone to collect an award
there. It is definitely a 'pinch me' moment!"
Thanks to Zara's help, Maureen has been able to keep her dogs,
as Zara has given Candy and Toffee the exercise that sometimes
Maureen may not have been able to provide.
Zara will receive the prestigious Cinnamon Trust Young Volunteer
of the Year trophy at Crufts on Saturday 12th March at 12pm in the
Young Kennel Club ring.
Mrs Averil Jarvis, Founder and Chief Executive of the Cinnamon
Trust, said: "Zara's commitment and kindness has brought sunshine
into the lives of two little dogs and one lovely lady. For this,
she more than deserves this accolade."
In conjunction with the Young Kennel Club, the Cinnamon Trust
encourages young people who love dogs to help older people who also
love dogs but are unable to fully care for their canine companion
themselves. It's a win-win-win situation - the dog wins as they get
a fun walk and stay healthy, the owner wins as they get peace of
mind with a happy dog, and the young volunteer wins as they make
new friends and gain a great sense of pride.