A DEDICATED Hampshire volunteer has been praised by a London home for dogs and cats for regularly driving almost three hours to help out.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has more than 1,000 volunteers, and for the last six years one Ringwood man has made the 97-mile journey from his home, making him one of Battersea’s farthest-travelling helpers.

Rob Carter, who spends just under three hours driving to the centre, is a football coach but spends his spare time taking part in events and caring for the animals.

He first started volunteering in the community engagement team – which raises awareness of responsible dog ownership – before lending a helping hand across other aspects of the charity, from organising initiatives in the events team to caring for cats.

Rob said: “My passion for the charity began a few years ago when I sadly lost my ex-Battersea dog. I wanted to give back to the home and decided to sign up as a volunteer – I haven’t looked back since.

“I’ve been able to experience things I could never imagine, such as meeting our former prime minister to making friends for life.

“I feel very lucky to be a part of the Battersea family – the long journey is definitely worth it.”

Charlotte Fielder, Battersea’s head of volunteering and fostering said: “We really value the incredible contribution our volunteers and foster carers make to the work we do here at Battersea, and Rob is a prime example of their dedication.

“Luckily for us we have received financial support from players of a postcode lottery which has helped us grow our volunteer programme, meaning our volunteers can do even more for our dogs and cats.”

The centre is one of the most famous rehoming and caring shelters for animals in the UK, and its volunteering team has dedicated more than 41,000 hours of their spare time to the charity in the first half of 2017.

Players of a postcode lottery donated £200,000 to the centre last year and held its first-ever volunteering and fostering conference last month.