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Volunteer says goodbye after more than 30 years of service

While Evelyn has spent the past three decades making sure fellow volunteers receive the training and guidance they need to be part of the hospice team, her involvement goes back even further! 
Evelyn and Gill sharing memories (cropped)
In fact, before the hospice opened its doors to patients more than 33 years ago, the South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue where Evelyn is Vice President, was raising funds for the charity and later presented it with its first electric wheelchair.     

But in 1986 Evelyn's connection became personal when her husband's step-mother was a patient and this inspired her to start volunteering on the inpatient unit the following year before going on to become a Volunteer Co-Ordinator.    

"I stayed so long because I loved working here and I amEvelyn Dalton with staff and volunteers on Xmas Day 1 so glad I have been able to do it," said Evelyn, who turns 80 in January and has three children and six grandchildren.     

"So much has happened over the years.     

"I remember setting up a hair salon in what was then known as the day unit.     

"We had students from a local college and qualified hairdressers who came in and we used to look after them."    

                                                                            Evelyn sharing memories with Gill                                                                                        Wendelken, our Voluntary Services Manager

In the early days, the organisation was much smaller and Evelyn was also involved in other areas of the hospice's work, including raising awareness of the specialist care and support services it provides to the community and raising vital funds.    

"When I first came to the hospice there were only 10 beds and I used to help with the open days," she said.     

And it is clear from speaking to Evelyn that even after all this time she is still devoted to the hospice and derives great satisfaction from her current role of training and supporting young people to achieve the work experience they need to pursue careers in healthcare.      
Evelyn Dalton with staff and volunteers on Xmas Day 1
Unsurprisingly Evelyn's formidable efforts have not gone unrecognised! 

In March Evelyn was presented with her 30-year Long Service Award and in 2012 she proudly received the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Help the Hospices Conference in Manchester for "helping make things happen" at the hospice for more than 25 years.

That's not all! Evelyn also inspired her family to get involved too!

And for more than 20 years Evelyn, along with her family and members of her synagogue, have been volunteering on the inpatient unit every Christmas Day to serve patients their meals and give staff and the regular volunteers a break!    

As Evelyn steps down to spend more time with her partner Jerry Bernstein and her family and indulge her love of theatre and travel, we bid her a very fond farewell and a heartfelt thank you from everyone at Saint Francis Hospice. 

Evelyn Dalton with staff and volunteers on Xmas Day 1

Evelyn with staff and volunteers on the inpatient unit on Christmas Day