Meet Margaret: volunteer tea lady, life story writer, baker and fundraiser supreme

Margaret Tetley volunteers at our Manorlands Hospice doing a bit of everything! Here, she describes her various roles and what motivates her to give Sue Ryder so much of her time.

Margaret Tetley 546

It’s interesting how in some ways I always had a connection with Sue Ryder. I remember working on a project for school. I was about 11 and I had to choose an inspiring person to research and I decided to look at the life of Lady Ryder, the founder of the charity.

I always knew about the wonderful services provided by my local Sue Ryder hospice, Manorlands Hospice, through friends and colleagues who have used its services. My Mum also used to call the hospice if she needed some advice when my dad was ill. She was a nurse herself and cared for my dad at home; it was so important for her to know she had someone she could call upon if needed.

When I retired, I wanted to do some voluntary work and Manorlands Hospice seemed exactly what I was looking for. There are so many different roles you can choose from and interesting things you can get involved with.

Helping patients chronicle their memories

On Wednesdays, I always help out in the inpatient unit with the tea trolley, helping to look after patients.

Most recently, I have been involved in a project called ‘Life Story’ that I absolutely love. I explain to patients what it is – the aim is to chronicle their memories – and, if they are interested, I sit with them for as long as it takes to complete the book. It’s a lovely way for them to go through the poignant times in their life: the schoolmates they liked, the teacher they remember most, people they met through their work career. It’s a journey through their life and a lovely legacy to leave behind for family and friends.

I still remember the surprise I had when one of the patients I was about to start working with to complete the ‘Life Story' book turned out to be one of my managers from the first job I had! I didn’t think he would remember me, but he and his wife recognised me immediately.

I like volunteering at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice because you meet so many interesting people. If someone asked me what I think about volunteering, I'd say: "Go for it! You will love it!"

Motivating others

I also help at the day therapy drop-in service that the hospice runs at Airedale Hospital every Tuesday. I help the therapy team with patients coming to the gym.

The atmosphere is great; we always have a good chat and a laugh. And I’ve got into the habit now of baking cakes and cupcakes so everyone can help themselves, from staff to patients and their carers.

I like to help and try to motivate patients when they think they can’t do something. There is always a way to go around a problem. My Mum’s motto was: "There is no such word as 'can’t'" and I live by it.

Organising fundraisers

My involvement with the hospice doesn’t stop there. I am also part of the Eldwick and Gilstead fundraising support group. There are eight members and it’s a great way to socialise and have fun while helping to raise vital funds for the hospice.

We meet regularly to decide what fundraising events to organise and assign tasks to each member. It can be anything from a fashion show in the local village hall to a bucket collection at a garden centre.

It’s really rewarding and you never know what you might be working on next.

Could you be our next volunteer?


Margaret Tetley


Margaret Tetley

Margaret volunteers at Sue Ryder Manorlands Hospice doing "a bit of everything".