Approximately twelve months after the passing of my Mum in Willow Wood, I began volunteering for the Hospice. There was never any doubt in my mind that this was what I would eventually hope to do as my Mum, myself and my family were so wonderfully cared for, both during Mum’s illness and after her death. I could think of no better way to say ‘thank you’ and, no matter how indirectly, to help the hospice just a little in the continuation of its wonderful work for the people of Tameside and Glossop.
I started working above the old furniture shop in Old St, Ashton-under-Lyne, selling donated goods on eBay. I continued this for about a year, before the eBay operation moved to the newly opened PAD in Stalybridge. I then moved into the Appeals Office at the Hospice where I have remained ever since. The work I do is varied and always personally satisfying. I have assisted in a number of outside and internal events, the Midnight Walk, various aspects of the annual Light up a Life event and the Summer and Winter Fetes, to name just a few. I also undertake deliveries to local schools and businesses and, whilst doing so, it comes across to me so many times how loved and valued Willow Wood really is.
Raising money for the Hospice is clearly of vital importance. It currently costs around £2.8m annually to maintain free services to Tameside and Glossop residents. I have raised funds by raising sponsorship for my participation in The Morecambe Bay Walk, Ikea Abseil and the Ton of Love.
The perception of Willow Wood as a gloomy or morbid place is completely wrong. The atmosphere is strikingly positive and happy. I have made a lot of friends and I love working here (which is more than I could say during the course of my normal working life!)
I hope I can volunteer for as long as I’m able, because whatever I can do for the Hospice will never compare to what the Hospice has done for me.
There are many differing roles on offer here and if you have just a few spare hours a week and if this little story, or any of those of other volunteers inspires you to consider volunteering, I feel certain that Willow Wood will be delighted to welcome you.