Around 300 members of Weston Hospicecare’s indefatigable army of volunteers came together this week to celebrate an important date in the charity calendar.
Volunteers Week is an annual nationwide celebration of the role played by unpaid workers in charities all across the country.
Like many other charities, Weston Hospicecare is heavily reliant on the support of volunteers, with between 600 and 700 people typically active in supporting the hospice in a variety of roles.
Those roles include jobs like driving patients to and from appointments, staffing the charity’s shops, offering counselling and therapies, tending the hospice garden and working at events… plus many other jobs besides.
Those contributions were celebrated this week over cream teas at Weston’s Royal Hotel, where around 60 volunteers also received certificates marking landmarks in their service to the hospice.
Certificates were handed to people who had worked for 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years for the hospice, while six people – Ivan and Mary Armstrong, Janet Hellard, Terry and Carol Dudley and Pat Emery – were presented with mementoes of an incredible 30 years of volunteering.
That achievement is made even more remarkable by the fact that Weston Hospicecare was launched in 1989; that means this year is the organisation’s 30th anniversary, and those six volunteers have been with the charity since the very beginning.
The events saw chair of trustees Judi Driscoll, director of patient services John Bailey and chief executive Paul Winspear pay tribute to the role and impact of the hospice’s volunteers.
Paul said: “The hospice has been looking after the people of Weston and surrounding areas for 30 years, which is amazing.
“Our volunteers have been with us from the very beginning, and have helped something very small grow into what we are today.
“These long service awards recognise the outstanding contribution which our volunteers make to Weston Hospicecare.
“Thank you to everyone; wherever you are, whatever you do, however much time you give – it is all very, very special. People have often heard us say that we couldn’t do it without you; we say it often because it’s true.”
Anyone who would like to find out more about volunteering opportunities at Weston Hospicecare can do so here.