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

Staines Informer - - NEWS - Char­lotte To­bitt

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.”

Marie Barl­trop.

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