“I joined St Oswald’s (unofficially) in 1994 after I had seen a notice in the Evening Chronicle asking for ‘crafty’ people to make things that could be sold at the Hospice’s summer fair. When I saw the adverts I thought ‘I can do that’.
“I went to show the then fundraiser at the Hospice my embroidered greeting cards, soft toys, and a few other things which she felt would sell well. In those days the Hospice was fairly small, there was no Day Hospice, treatment rooms or Children and Young Adults Service, and everybody knew everybody.
“We had a small craft group and would meet once a month to exchange ideas. Companies used to donate their remnants of fabrics, wools and card and as a team we picked what we could use for our speciality, took it home and started creating. Compared to the way the Hospice is run now and the amount of money needed to be raised in all seemed a lot simpler in those days.
“After a while I wanted to know a bit more about how the Hospice works so I did the induction course and then became a regular volunteer. At that time there was a need for drivers so I have now been driving since 1995.
“During this time I have also regularly helped out at summer and Christmas fairs and occasionally shook a donation can at fundraising events. For a few years at the beginning of this century I was also a trustee on the Board, but had to stop when work got in the way and I no longer could attend the meetings.
“For the last few years I only have been driving patients, picking them up from their homes and dropping them back off. I enjoy the one-to-one meetings with patients, we’ve had some interesting conversations with some and silence with others, whatever they prefer. I like volunteering at St Oswald’s because I enjoy meeting and helping others. I think volunteering is so important as it gives me a purpose and helps other people less fortunate than myself.”
A huge thank you to Marijke for her commitment, kindness and hard work over the last 25 years.
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