Hundreds of Weston Hospicecare’s loyal legions of volunteers have seen their dedication celebrated during a series of events to mark Volunteers Week.

The national initiative ran from June 1-7, and encouraged charities and other organisations who benefit from the work of volunteers to say a public thank you for their efforts.

The hospice, which is based in Thornbury Road in Uphill, currently has nearly 700 active volunteers who help across the charity’s services.

Many work in Weston Hospicecare shops across the area, while others help out at events, or at the hospice itself, in roles as diverse as counsellors, drivers, companions or admin support.

More than 200 of the charity’s volunteers attended the Royal Hotel for a cream tea event across two days this week, where their contribution was saluted and long service awards handed out.

The hospice’s chair of trustees Judi Driscoll said: “You won’t find any more caring and hard-working people than our volunteers.

“Our doctors and nurses cannot operate with our volunteers. Events wouldn’t happen without our volunteers, and events are a lifeline for the hospice. Even our chief executive has to report to a group of volunteers.

“Quite simply, the hospice wouldn’t survive without all of the volunteers.”

In excess of 50 people were presented with certificates to mark five years or more volunteering at the hospice, with three people celebrating 20 years’ service and one marking a landmark 25 years.

Volunteers from across the hospice patch – including some from Winscombe, Congresbury, Burnham, Kewstoke and Cheddar – were among those to receive awards.

The group then tucked into a cream tea, put together with support from a number of Weston businesses.

The Royal Hotel donated the teas and coffees, Yeo Valley provided the cream and B&M donated the jam, while T&L Supplies made a contribution too.

The  event was sponsored by James Rogers of Event Attraction – the firm behind the Funland funfair at the Tropicana and the Weston Wheel.

Weston Hospicecare’s director of patient services John Bailey said: “Jimmy Carter said a nation without volunteers is a nation without a soul.

“The amazing thing about our volunteers is that they don’t think they are doing anything amazing – they think they are just doing their jobs. But that is pretty amazing in itself.

“We have got a great team of volunteers, and we should really celebrate that.”

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