Hospice Care Week 2020: 98-year-old Sue Ryder volunteer hangs up her boots after 33 years

98-year-old volunteer, Renee, is saying an emotional goodbye to her local Sue Ryder charity shop in Cavendish after 33 years of volunteering. Renee Rowe started volunteering for the charity in 1987 and has been supporting the charity ever since, especially after her husband received end of life care in a Sue Ryder hospice.

Sue Ryder volunteer Renee Rowe, in the Sue Ryder Cavendish shop
Renee Rowe at the counter in the Sue Ryder Cavendish shop.

During Hospice Care Week, we are joining forces with Hospice UK to show you what it takes to provide the expert palliative care that our patients and their families need and deserve at the end of life.

Throughout this week, we'll be sharing stories to celebrate our amazing staff and volunteers who work hard every day to be there when it matters and support people through the most difficult times of their lives.

Making a real difference as a volunteer

Over the years, Renee has helped with everything from sorting and preparing stock, to merchandising and sales. By supporting Sue Ryder in this way, Renee has helped to make a real difference to people’s lives and has forged some life-long friendships with other volunteers and staff.

“I started volunteering for Sue Ryder because I had just moved to the village and I wanted to get involved in village life and meet more people. Now, it is a charity that is very close to my heart as my husband was cared for and passed away in a Sue Ryder hospice.

“I had to stop volunteering because of the coronavirus pandemic and my age but I miss the shop a lot, I would have carried on going if it wasn’t for the coronavirus!”

“I’ve been incredibly happy there, I even went to Buckingham Palace two years ago because of my services to Sue Ryder and we were the top performing shop that year! I had to stop volunteering because of the coronavirus pandemic and my age but I miss the shop a lot, I would have carried on going if it wasn’t for the coronavirus! I still pop in every now and then to have a chat with everyone.”

Shop Manager at Sue Ryder Cavendish shop, Gemma Rose, said:

“We are so incredibly grateful to Renee for the support she’s given Sue Ryder over the years. She’s mastered every challenge that has come at her, including getting used to the digital tills despite never using a computer before. The shop won’t be the same without her!

“We’re always looking for more volunteers to support the Sue Ryder shop in Cavendish. By giving the gift of time, your contribution will help raise money for Sue Ryder to provide services to people facing a terminal illness, neurological condition or the loss of a loved one. You will help ensure Sue Ryder can be there when it matters.”

Support your local Sue Ryder shop

Sue Ryder has over 450 shops across the UK which are packed with an eclectic mix of treasures - from clothes, books and furniture, to musical instruments and wedding dresses.

Dedicated and hard working volunteers like Renee support Sue Ryder in so many ways and, after such a difficult period during the pandemic, our retail teams have all pulled together to get our shops back open once more to help generate much needed funds for our palliative, neurological and bereavement support. 

Find out more about volunteering with Sue Ryder and the latest opportunities in your area.

Join the Sue Ryder team

Discover more about volunteering with us and find local volunteer opportunities near you to see how you can support us to be there when it matters.