SOUTH BUCKS HOSPICE

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - COMMUNITY -

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

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