“In 1984 I joined one of the original appeal committees to help raise funds to open a hospice in Gosforth and in 1986 I saw that work come to fruition when I attended the official opening of St Oswald’s Hospice. On the day of the opening it was a lovely time in my life as I also found out I was pregnant with my daughter so I look back on it with fond memories. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to be self-employed so I’ve always been able to make time for volunteering. It’s something I feel very passionate about and has been a big part of my life.
“My first role at the Hospice was a volunteer driver, where I transported Day Hospice patients. I then went on to be a Ward Helper on the Inpatient Ward and then I supported the Spiritual Care Team by assisting Focus on Living patients. When Covid-19 hit, that role stopped as the way we cared with Focus on Living patients had to change. When I heard about the Patient Support Volunteer role on the Inpatient Ward I was really keen to get involved with that as I missed volunteering and seeing patients during the pandemic.
“Now, one evening a week I visit the patients on the Ward to provide companionship, support with things such as feeding, making them a cuppa and helping the nurses out with any tasks I can. Last year I even helped one lady write out her Christmas cards which she really appreciated. I enjoy helping out and taking a little bit of pressure off the nurses, as they are always so busy. The role is relatively new so it’s still being shaped and developed, the team is made up of a real mix of ages and personalities so it’s nice to meet with everyone at our monthly meetings.
“Last year I saw that St Oswald’s Hospice was looking for two existing volunteers to join the Board of Trustees. I was already a Trustee of a small local charity and decided that becoming a Trustee for the Hospice was the natural next step for me. As a volunteer I feel I’m able to bring my experiences and what I see and hear to the larger Board. When my application was successful and I was asked to become a trustee I was surprised and thrilled. I’m really looking forward to getting involved more and I’m currently absorbing as much information as I can. I feel my hand on experience will be useful.”
When asked if Sue would recommend volunteering to others she said:
“I would absolutely recommend volunteering, in fact, I do! My husband thinks I never stop talking about it. When people ask me why St Oswald’s Hospice? I tell them it’s such an uplifting place. I feel extremely privileged to meet the people I do and hear their stories. I’m always keen to create more awareness of the Hospice so share with friends, colleagues and people I meet the wonderful work they do.
“I feel so lucky to have been involved with such a fantastic charity for all these years and look forward to my time as a Trustee.”