Why volunteering gives me a purpose
I was 30 years old when I married Tony Bridge 20 years my senior. "It'll never work," people said.
Twenty-eight years into marital bliss, I applied for a voluntary role on reception at Saint Francis Hospice. I remember how nervous I was, having not attended a job interview for decades. I was sure that I'd made a pig's ear of it.
"I messed that right up," I said to Tony when she got home. Only minutes later, the phone rang, and the Hospice asked me if I could start the following week. I gladly accepted. Little did I know that I would soon be needing the Hospice's services as much as they needed mine.
Our marriage was still going strong after 38 years when we received devastating news: Tony had terminal stomach cancer.
The Hospice at Home team cared for Tony at our home, and they were magnificent. The Hospice gave him a special bed and the nurses would bathe him. They gave us everything we could have wanted and more. I don't know how I could have done it without them.
It was Tony's wish to pass away at home, surrounded by his loved ones. He was 87.
Since I lost Tony, volunteering has taken on a different meaning for me.
His passing made me realise how much I needed to keep busy.
Volunteering gives me a purpose. I get a lot out of it, and so does the Hospice. There's such a nice bunch of people here.
Saint Francis Hospice is an extraordinary place, and often quite different from what people expect.
A lot of people think it will be a morbid place, but they feel uplifted as they come through the doors. Even after a couple of hours, patients seem to be calmer, happier, and settled."
The most rewarding part of my volunteering job is knowing that I've made a difference to someone's day, and hearing the word 'thank you.'
I know helping on the ward isn't for everyone but there are so many volunteering roles available. If people have the time to give, then there the hospice has a role for you!
Please find out more by visiting www.sfh.org.uk/volunteer or email email@example.com