SOUTH BUCKS HOSPICE
THE kindness of volunteer drivers ensures patients with life-limiting conditions can access the care they need at South Bucks Hospice.
Without them, many seriously-ill people could not get to and from the day hospice in High Wycombe. Here, two of the drivers tell what motivates them to do this vital work.
Anne Cameron, 55, from Flackwell Heath, has been a volunteer driver for five months.
She drives for the hospice two days a week and is spurred on by the loss of several relatives at early ages.
She said: “I lost my brother aged 49 to epilepsy, my mother passed away at 57 from heart trouble and my mother-in-law aged 59 to cancer – so all of this means a lot to me.
“Life can be short and you have to make the most of it, and being a volunteer driver is very rewarding. It’s not just driving – you talk to the patients about everything and anything – and you find out what you have in common.”
But Anne admits the patients also come to her rescue because she has such a poor sense of direction.
“I always have a full tank of petrol because I tend to go the wrong way,” she laughed. “The people I drive know it, and they put me right.”
Anne added: “Other people should volunteer because it’s so rewarding. I get a lot out of it – it’s not a one-way process.
“We all think we are going to live forever, but we have no idea of what is around the corner.”
Retired vicar Rev Peter Wainwright, 70, has a unique double role at the hospice – being both on the chaplaincy team and a volunteer driver.
He explained: “I moved to High Wycombe over a year ago to be near my grandchildren, but I am still fit and, having got here, I realised there is much I wanted to do in the community.
“It so happened I heard about the chaplaincy group being started at the Hospice so I successfully applied.
“However, I then heard they were short of volunteer drivers, and I thought I should help with that as well, given I was coming here to do the chaplaincy work. I thought why arrive in an empty car?”
Peter now combines the activities during his days at the hospice – usually giving a lift to one or two people at a time.
He is delighted with his driving role, saying: “It’s great because you can talk about all sorts of things in the car, and it can be easier for patients to talk there than when we are in the large room at the hospice listening to everyone else.”
South Bucks Hospice still urgently needs more drivers.
If you can help, please contact Mary-Ann Leader, community engagement officer, on 01494 464 045 or email volunteers@sbhospice. org.uk.
Volunteers: South Bucks Hospice drivers Anne Cameron and Rev Peter Wainwright