The wonderful Laurence Ackland Smith – Battersea’s longest serving volunteer – has celebrated his 30th year of service with the Home. 


Laurence – an avid dog lover – began volunteering as a dog walker on 16 October 1986 as his son was allergic to dogs, meaning they could not have one at home. Since then, Laurence has donated 12,000 hours of his time, walking dogs for approximately 7,500 miles or roughly 290 marathons!

Battersea’s Director of Operations Peter Laurie and Head of Volunteering & Fostering Charlotte Fielder awarded a Certificate of Achievement to Laurence, who explained it was his “love of dogs and the appreciation from the charity” that has kept him volunteering with the Home for so long. Upon accepting his certificate, Laurence gave a few words beginning with “If you think this is a retirement speech, it isn’t!”.

These days Laurence particularly looks forward to the Home’s monthly visits to the Chelsea Pensioners at the neighbouring Royal Hospital, providing the pensioners with cuddles and interactions from our dogs. 

Laurence started visiting the Royal Hospital in 2010 and has become such a firm favourite with staff and the pensioners that they threw an additional party for him during his visit last week.


Thanks to important funding from the generous players of People’s Postcode Lottery, Battersea is able to recognise and reward the achievements of its volunteers. 

Charlotte Fielder, Battersea’s Head of Volunteering & Fostering commented “Laurence is a hero at Battersea, not just because he has been volunteering with us for so long, but because he is such a committed, reliable and lovely person. He totally embodies the values of the Home and he continually demonstrates love, care and respect for our animals.”

If like Laurence, you would like to volunteer at any of the homes, you can visit here:

Battersea Dogs Home Volunteering