A Falkirk retail worker is not just any volunteer – he’s an M&S one who has just been voted as one of the company’s top of the range assets.
Chris Hall was given Marks and Spencer’s Volunteering Award at the firm’s glittering annual Pride of M&S ceremony for his selfless work with Police Scotland as a special constable for the past 13 years.
The 31-year-old has contributed more than 30,000 hours of voluntary work with the road policing unit in Forth Valley in his spare time, helping to keep roads safe in local communities.
It isn’t the first time Chris has been recognised as he’s received the Special Constable of the Year twice in 2005 and 2008, as well as the Chief Constables Commendation for saving a man’s life after he was stabbed during an incident in Bo’ness in 2014.
Chris, who is a section co-ordinator in the food hall at the M&S store in the High Street, said: “I do as many hours as I can during the week with Police Scotland, roughly between 20 and 40 a week, purely voluntary, exactly the same work as a regular police officer except I don’t get paid.
“For me, I genuinely like to give something back into the community and have done for the past 13-14 years, as long as I’ve been working here.
“I went to join the force at first, but having no life experience behind me they asked me to do this first and I’ve just stuck to it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to join the police to get a bit of experience of what they do.
“There’s absolutely no perks, but there are plenty of rewards for me.”
Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin said: “The role of a special constable is integral to Police Scotland and every time volunteers put on the uniform they are performing the role of a police officer.
“Christopher has shown a huge amount of dedication and commitment, giving up his own time to serve his community and is thoroughly deserving of this recognition.”
Chris’s volunteering started at a young age with the Boys’ Brigade where he achieved a Queens Award.
At the M&S black-tie awards ceremony, comedian Ruby Wax made a guest appearance where Chris and the rest of the winners were awarded a £100 gift card and £1000 donation from M&S to a charity of their choice – which is the Scottish Air Ambulance for Chris.
Mike Barry, M&S Plan A director, said: “The Pride of M&S Awards are a great way for us to recognise some very special colleagues who really go above and beyond to help each other and those in their local communities.
“We’re very proud of Christopher and his fellow winners who came from across the UK to join us for a celebratory evening.
“It was great to be joined by Ruby Wax who kicked the night off by sharing her passion for mindfulness and encouraging us to take care of our mental health, and finished with a comedic set that ended the night on a real high for all involved.”
Chris added: “Volunteering has been a significant part of my life for as long as I can remember and I’m incredibly grateful for the recognition from M&S.
“I’m passionate about giving back to the local community and helping in whatever way I can to make even the smallest difference and would encourage others get involved as well.”