Volunteers – our hospice heroes
Tribute to the 1,200 people who make the Princess Alice so treasured – with appeal for even more to step forward A contrast to the fickle world of fashion
VOLUNTEERS’ Week is the perfect time for Esher’s much-loved Princess Alice Hospice to appeal for more helpers.
The charity already has an incredible 1,200 volunteers, 650 based at the West End Lane hospice and a further 550 who dedicate their time working in more than 40 shops across Elmbridge, Runnymede, Spelthorne and beyond.
Nicki Shaw, hospice chief executive, said: “We want to thank each and every one of our very special volunteers.
“Their work is absolutely essential; we totally rely on them because they are vital to the smooth running of our hospice.”
Roles include welcoming people at the reception desk, helping in the day hospice, administration, visiting a patient in their own home, driving patients, serving in the cafe, supervising Man Shed sessions and more.
Ms Shaw added: “Whether you can help out for a few hours, commit to a regular day of volunteering or would be interested in supporting a short term project, there are many ways for you to give your time, skills and energy.
“By giving just a little time you can make a big difference.” MARIE Barltrop has volunteered at Princess Alice Hospice for nearly 25 years, the longest she has ever worked or volunteered anywhere.
Marie first enquired about volunteering after her mother, who had been cared for by a hospice in South Africa, died in 1987 but was told she should wait a few years to grieve first.
She began in 1992 in the coffee shop and has since helped in various roles including driving patients, although she struggled with getting too emotionally involved, and now looks after the plants on the flower team.
Marie, who worked in the fashion industry, said: “I can honestly say it has been a rock in my life, a consistent uplifting place to come to and I love volunteering here as much as ever.” She added: The hospice provided a muchneeded contrast to the fickle world of fashion.
“I have seen the building alter over the years but the meaning has never changed. I find it a fantastic place to come to and I hope that, by bringing in new plants and by caring for the ones that are here, I am contributing to this amazing environment.”