We spoke to retail volunteer Beryl, 74, about what she loves most about volunteering at Teesside Hospice, and how much fun she has doing it!
“In November 2011, a really good friend of mine died suddenly. Alan was 92 and we had built up an amazing friendship. I would help him with his weekly shop and do jobs round the house, he kept me busy. I was devastated that overnight, it was all gone.
I was out with one of my sons one day, when we walked past the Teesside Hospice shop in Coulby Newham, and he said to me, ‘Mam, that’s what you need to do, some volunteering’. I said no at first, I’d done enough volunteering in my time, but he got his way and off we went into the shop.
I was a bag of nerves walking in there. After the trauma of losing Alan, I’d lost my confidence a bit too. I said to the lady behind the till, ‘I’ve come to volunteer, I’m hoping it will help me to stop crying’. I remember she said to me, ‘we will make you happy here’. She was right.
I’ve been volunteering in the shop at Coulby Newham for over 8 years, and what an 8 years it’s been. I’m really passionate about helping Teesside Hospice; my cousin Beth died at the hospice. It’s absolutely marvellous the care everyone there provides.
When I’m volunteering, I’m always thinking about the people at the hospice that I’m helping, that’s what it’s about.
It’s so rewarding being a volunteer too. I’ve got this saying, ‘it’s nice to be nice’, and I love helping the customers in the shop. I like to watch them walk away with a big smile on their face because they’ve got a bargain!
We have so much fun too, we laugh and laugh. I’ve made amazing friends through volunteering, we’re a proper team and we all support each other.
I do a bit of everything in my role from sorting stock, to helping customers and working on the tills. I was nervous about using our new till system, but Cheryl the shop manager pushed me to have a go, and I was so pleased she did. It’s all about keeping my mind active.
I feel so proud when I’m wearing my Teesside Hospice t-shirt. I see people looking at me wearing it, and I walk with my head held so high. My sons are proud too, they’ve noticed a difference in me and they can see how much it helps me to keep going.
I’m so glad I walked through those doors 8 years ago, it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.”
One of the most precious gifts you can give to Teesside Hospice is your time. By becoming a volunteer and giving up just a few hours on a morning or afternoon, you are enabling us to raise the vital funds needed to provide our care. This is #WhatItTakes, thank you.
If you would like to volunteer, please call 01642 811141 or visit www.teessidehospice.org/become-volunteer
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