Saint Francis Hospice volunteers are of all ages and from all different walks of life. The eldest of whom is Margaret Fitzpatrick.
Margaret spent 30 years working as a Domestic at the Hospice before taking well-earned retirement at the age of 84. But she just couldn't keep away. Now, Margaret works as a volunteer on the inpatient unit, caring for patients — at 85 years young.
The Hospice held a thank you event on 26th June to recognise everything their volunteers put in.
What better way to be suitably British on a hot summer's day than indulge in a tradition that dates back to the 11th century: afternoon cream tea. Busy helpers, affectionately known as the "pinny ladies" (and some pinny gentlemen) did the team proud, serving up refreshments, scones, clotted cream, and jam.
Pam Court, CEO, and Peter Cruchett, Chairman, presented the long service awards — with some going back to when the Hospice first opened its doors in 1984.
820 volunteers give up 265,000 hours each year, saving the Hospice £1.5m over 12 months. The aspiration is to have 1,000 of them by 2020. The Hospice would not survive without their kindness, selflessness, and generosity.
Saint Francis Hospice volunteers dedicate anything from one to 35 hours a week. There's scope to get involved in all areas of the Hospice: retail, reception, fundraising, gardening, and on OrangeLine — helping people who feel lonely, isolated, or are going through a bereavement — to name but a few.
Hazel Gibbs who volunteers in the Hornchurch furniture store says "I live on my own, and when I retired, I was frightened. I didn't want to just sit at home. When you volunteer, your life opens up"