Time to stop
After 18 years of voluntary service, Sylvia Eales has called time on her work with Saint Francis Hospice's shops.
Sylvia, 74, was presented with a bouquet of flowers and gifts after she made the journey from her Canvey Island home to the furniture shop in Hornchurch on Saturday (October 24) for the last time.
"I am really going to miss it and I have really enjoyed my time at the shop but I feel now is the right time for me to stop," said the great grandmother.
"It is a shame as it is only the journey that puts me off. As winter is approaching it is getting so dark and I don't want to be driving in the ice and snow."
Sylvia, who previously worked in the bridal business carrying out wedding dress alterations, initially started work at the hospice's wedding dress shop in Collier Row when it opened 18 years ago.
There she was able to put her skills to good use to help raise money for the hospice, which cared for her father before he died of cancer.
"It was such a great place to work and I was sad when that shop closed," said Sylvia.
"I really loved helping the customers and doing the alterations."
After 10 years in Collier Row Sylvia came to work at the Hornchurch shop and although it was completely new to her, she quickly became a valuable and popular member of the team.
During her time there she has forged a strong friendship with fellow volunteer Joan Eustace, 71, who says Saturdays will not be the same without her.
"We have become good friends since we have been working together at the shop," said Joan from Romford.
"She has a great sense of humour and we get on so well. I will miss her on Saturdays but I know we will be staying in touch."
Olive Lankester the Assistant Manager of the Saint Francis Hospice furniture shop in Hornchurch said: "We will really miss Sylvia but she deserves a rest after 18 years of volunteering! We are always looking for new volunteers so if you just have a few hours to spare and think you could help us raise funds for the hospice please click here or ask in any of our shops."
Sylvia Eales in the Saint Francis Hospice Hornchurch furniture shop on her last day as a shop volunteer.