Black vultures? All in a day’s work for Bryan
An article that was written about me back in 2012 while I lived in Greece:
Even at a place where volunteering is actively encouraged, former Oatridge College student Bryan Deakin from Bonnybridge near Falkirk is building a reputation as someone out of the ordinary.
The 26 year-old is currently in Greece, where in the last few months he has worked with several charities as an international volunteer and has found himself taking on a host of jobs, from upgrading ancient footpaths to feeding black vultures, caring for sick sea turtles, producing a video to encourage volunteering, as well as handling office work.
Bryan, an ex-pupil of Denny High School, studied for a Higher National Certificate in Countryside Management at Oatridge, which is where his enthusiasm for volunteering was cultured.
Here at home he works as a volunteer officer for The Conservation Volunteers in Stirling, where he is involved with the Green Gym, which aims to encourage people to improve their personal fitness by getting involved in environmental projects. Through the Conservation Volunteers Alliance he joined an international programme called “La Team”, which in turn led a four month stint in Greece.
“The idea of ‘La Team’ is to create opportunities for teams of international volunteers to work together on environmental projects throughout Europe,” says Bryan. “I’m working here with volunteers from Italy, Estonia and France and at the same time volunteers from these countries and Greece are in Scotland, and so on around Europe.
“I’m based in Athens where I have helped with office work and been involved with a number of projects, but right through July I was on two of the Greek islands, Naxos and Syros, where a team of international volunteers worked on clearing ancient footpaths to make them usable again. I’m off to Andros soon to help at another workcamp and that will be the last of the year.” While in Greece Bryan has received a small living allowance from the European Union, paid through the conservation charity ELIX, which is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage and promoting international volunteering.
He is also spent time with two wildlife charities. It was at one, ANIMA, which looks after sick at injured animal, and it was there that he encountered a host of animals he never expected to see: “I still can’t believe that I was able to feed black vultures and storks,” he says. At another, Archelon, he worked with sea turtles.
Like other visiting volunteers he has also been getting Greek lessons: “I’m probably progressing faster than the others,” he says, “because the Greek teacher and I are actually close friends.”
Bryan expects to be back in Scotland in October in time for a week-long meeting of all of this year’s “La Team” volunteers.