Saint Francis Hospice celebrated volunteers of all ages and from all different walks of life including the eldest, 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 in-patient unit, caring for patients at 85 years young.
The Hospice held a thank you event recently on a hot summer’s day and organised an 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.
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.
Gary Fermar, a volunteer at the Hornchurch Furniture Store said: “I was walking past the shop one day and walked in. It’s the best thing
I’ve ever done. We’re one big family. I became partially sighted and had to retire, but volunteering gives me a purpose.”
Hazel Gibbs, another volunteer said: “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. It keeps my brain going!”