This Hospice Care Week, we are sharing stories of the people who work and volunteer in our hospices – not just our nurses and care teams, but those who work alongside them to make sure our care can continue. Ian from Bedford is a volunteer driver at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.
“I support Sue Ryder so that in some small way I can repay the debt my sons and I owe Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice for the care they gave my late wife, their mother.
Liz repeatedly referred to the nursing staff as ‘angels’ and was cared for by these angels at St John’s.
I will be forever be thankful to them for the wonderful care and attention they gave her in those last few weeks and days of her life.
I am now, in return, there for the hospice in any way I can help.
Driving patients and relatives
I first started volunteering at St John’s about four years ago. I am 70 years old and wanted to do something ‘useful’ in my retirement.
The role of volunteer driver appealed as I enjoy driving; in my working life as an engineer I drove all over the UK. I also like being out and about and meeting and talking to new people.
I pick up day patients and drive them to the hospice, so they can access the Day Services and the Lymphoedema Clinic, and then take them back home again.
Sometimes I transport relatives who wish to visit their loved ones in the hospice’s in-patient unit. As an example, I recently collected a lady who had been visiting her husband and drove her home so she could have a shower and get a change of clothes.
The hospice has a monthly carers’ support group and I pick up and drop off carers who attend that.
“It’s my small repayment”
I believe my volunteering makes a difference. My role means that patients can focus on accessing the hospice’s vital services without worrying about transport; and relatives can concentrate on spending precious time with their loved ones, without worrying about how they are going to get to and from the hospice. It takes that stress away.
I find this role very rewarding and I am regularly thanked by both the people I transport and by the hospice staff. Having had personal experience of the hospice’s care, I feel comfortable empathising with the people I drive.
I hope that by supporting the hospice as I do, it allows Sue Ryder to devote time and funds to providing care – whilst I undertake other peripheral tasks such as transport.
As long as I can do this, I will do it. It’s my small repayment and a sign of gratitude for how St John’s cared for my late wife.
Supporting Sue Ryder
As well as volunteering, I support Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in a number of other ways.
I collect clothes and items for potential resale in the Nearly New shop. I sometimes buy items that catch my eye there!
In addition, I raise funds and make personal donations as and when I can. A collection pot at my recent 70th birthday party raised £260 for the hospice.
Away from the hospice, I also run a village website and assist on a village magazine. I display hospice adverts for fundraising activities in these media whenever I have the opportunity.
My final word? I would say to everyone who does donate, ‘Gift Aid’ it!”
Volunteer with us
Inspired by Ian to volunteer with us? Take a look at our current volunteering opportunities.
Ian from Bedford is a volunteer driver at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice and makes a real difference to patients and relatives. He decided to volunteer to give something back to the hospice who cared for his wife.