David Cameron would have loved me. I'd have been up there at the vanguard of his Big Society.
If you wanted anything doing, my hand would shoot up first. I rarely stopped to consider. Let's blame my mum - she's always done her bit: from Meals on Wheels to Charity Shop, from the Probation Service to the Magistrates Court. I was brought up to think it was what people did
Even at 15 I was an active member of the Leos (a junior version of the Lions Club), at 20 I became a Special Constable (more on that here), at 24 I was on the run for a sponsored jailbreak with the Rotaract (junior Rotary Club) and two years later I was a full-time volunteer on a Kibbutz - which included working in a glue factory and a baby house (more on that here).
Even that didn't teach me a lesson. Back in England in my early thirties, I was dragged to a meeting of an environmental group by a friend who'd 'seen the (green) light.' I offered to write one newsletter and next thing I knew I was volunteering for them 45 hours a week running a new Eco Centre. And although I did eventually get some funding which meant I actually got paid to do that - the job description mysteriously never mentioned standing in a wheelie bin dressed as a pile of rubbish or running a two-day green fayre attended by 10,000 people, with one hundred whacky eco-warrior stall holders, local scallies trying to break in and a very aggressive bouncy castle man.
Slowly, painfully, I have learned by now that the phrase: 'I'll do that!' generally ends up with me dressed as a carrot at Woodside Ferry Terminal, chasing a gazebo across a windy field or naked in a field in Gloucestershire.
So if anyone wants me to run a play group for retired thespians, set up low-calorie soup kitchen for anorexic fashion models, train 'funny dogs for the boring', drive Deals on Wheels for housebound city traders or shake a collection tin for the Collection Tin Preservation Society I am not available any more.