40 years of volunteering - celebrating three of our long service volunteers

Meet Sheila, Glenda and Denise - three retail volunteers at our Ramsey charity shop who have together given over 40 years of dedicated service to Sue Ryder.

Two Sue Ryder shop volunteers
Sheila (left) with a colleague at the Ramsey shop in Cambridgeshire

Donating time, skills and experience

At Sue Ryder, we are incredibly lucky to benefit from the support of thousands of volunteers who donate their time, skills and experience to help us be there when it matters.

At our Sue Ryder Ramsey shop in Cambridgeshire, there has been special cause for celebration over the past year as three of the team’s volunteers received long service awards, marking their amazing ongoing commitment to Sue Ryder. Glenda recently celebrated reaching her 10 year volunteering milestone, while Sheila and Denise have both completed an incredible 15 years of service.

Below, they all share their personal volunteering stories and reflect on what keeps them coming back so many years later.

Denise celebrates a 15 year volunteering milestone

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed volunteering at Sue Ryder ever since I first joined the shop after my retirement, and that’s why I’m still here 15 years later! 

“I love charity shops, and I like spending time making ours look nice. I’m really proud of the shop; we’re only a small community but we do really well. Our customers are fantastic and we get some lovely donations.

“You get to know your customers over time and what they’re looking for. If they ask for something in particular, we’ll do our best to keep an eye out for it and find it if we can. Even if we don’t have one in stock immediately, you can bet it’ll come in sometime! 

“The people I work with are fantastic too – we always have a laugh. Because I’ve been here so long I feel as though I’m part of the shop. 

“I try to advocate for Sue Ryder wherever I go. In the past I’ve taken a Sue Ryder carrier bag with me on my holidays and had photos taken to spread the word about who we are and what we do. 

“I’m really pleased to celebrate my 15 year milestone at Sue Ryder and would encourage anyone considering volunteering here to give it a try.”

Volunteers Sheila and Denise, with flowers for their long service
Shop volunteers Sheila and Denise, with flowers for their long service with Sue Ryder

Glenda's journey from Sue Ryder Nurse to dedicated retail volunteer

“I first started volunteering here at Ramsey over 10 years ago when I was made redundant, as a way to keep busy. 

“I had previously worked in healthcare myself, so Sue Ryder seemed like a natural choice of charity to support. I actually first trained as a nurse at Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice over 50 years ago when it was a convalescent home, and had my daughter in the maternity unit that used to exist upstairs some years before. 

“Six years ago, my brother passed away at Thorpe Hall Hospice after being moved there from Peterborough City Hospital. Seeing first-hand the excellent care that Sue Ryder provides has made it even more important for me to be able to contribute in some way.

“I became a key holder and then took on the role of Assistant Manager at the shop for a period, but I decided that I preferred volunteering and have continued as a dedicated volunteer ever since. I keep coming because I enjoy the people, keeping active and having a good time with everyone here.”

Retired volunteer, Sheila, marks 10 years of service

“I started volunteering when I retired as I wanted to feel useful and keep active. I found I enjoyed it much more than I initially anticipated, and I particularly valued the people and the interactions I have with the customers, staff and other volunteers. 

“When I lost my husband, everyone was very supportive and helped me through a difficult time. There’s a real sense of community among the team, and volunteering gave me something productive to focus on. 

“Even 15 years later, I still really enjoy volunteering and I plan to carry on as long as I can.”

Our volunteers help us to be there when it matters

We want to say a big thank you to Denise, Glenda and Sheila for their commitment and enthusiasm over the years - they are a much-valued and vital part of the Sue Ryder Ramsey team. 

Sue Ryder has over 400 charity shops across the UK and we always welcome new volunteers. Find your nearest shop on our website and get in touch about volunteering.

Interested in becoming a volunteer?

If you've been inspired by Denise, Glenda and Sheila's stories, you can find more information about becoming part of our team, frequently asked questions and our latest volunteering opportunities.