KIRKWOOD Hospice relies on its army of volunteers.
And no less than 16 of them have notched up 25 years helping the Dalton hospice – the entire time the hospice has been running – and some even helped to set its services up.
Over the year they clock up an incredible 35,500 hours between them.
Voluntary Services co-ordinator Judith Robinson said: “The volunteers bring the normality of life to Kirkwood and demedicalise the clinical experience that the patients and relatives may have had.
“They provide friendship and, of course, a huge financial saving and contribution with help, donations, time and friendship. Time is the most precious gift anyone can give and these people have been giving their time for 25 years. The volunteers complement the work of the paid staff, providing the extras and allowing the nursing staff valued time with patients.
“Many of them have held full-time jobs and donated their time regularly on an evening or weekend or have given their time while they have raised a family.”
Judith added: “The reception volunteers are on the frontline for Kirkwood, answering the telephone, meeting and greeting visitors and often lending a shoulder for someone to cry on or a listening ear.”
Other volunteers help out with the administration, run the tea trolley service and sort out refreshments for meetings and educational study days. The auxiliary volunteer, Mary Stenson, helps the nursing staff with patient care.
There is even a volunteer hairdresser, Ann Horne, who helps the hospice’s support and therapy volunteers.
And, finally, there are the hospice trustees.
“The trustees oversee the running of Kirkwood,’’ said Judith. “They give their time freely on an evening and during the day, ensuring the legal and financial side is looked after and lending their support to staff.”
And she concluded: “The volunteers make my job worthwhile. There isn’t anything they wouldn’t do for the patients or families. Over the years they have been a personal support to me and I cannot thank them enough.”
The volunteers are Phil Beever, Joan Broadbent, Audrey Jessop, Marjorie Meeks, Judith Tebb (all work on reception); Pat Morelli, Tina Sutcliffe, Charles Webster (all tea trolley); Sue Bottomley (nurse and reception), Betty Lloyd (reception and finance), auxiliary nurse Mary Stenson, trustee Neville Sheard, support and therapy volunteer Pat Wright, ward clerk Linda Leech, administrator Liz Brooke and hairdresser Ann Horne.