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​Thoughts on volunteering from Pauline Tester

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​Thoughts on volunteering from Pauline Tester

It will be 15 years this month that I joined ellenor. For the millennium I wanted to do something worthwhile for others as well as my other interests. At that time a leaflet from ellenor came in the post advertising for volunteers, listing various areas to work in, including reception work. I thought I would give it a go. After returning the necessary form I realised that I didn’t know the first thing about hospices and could not imagine what to expect!

My first training stint was on a Thursday morning with Christine Bembridge training me. It was Bereavement Meeting day and people were arriving quietly and sad looking. As the morning wore on there was a real buzz coming from the lounge and we had to shut the door so that we could hear on the phones! Everyone who works at Dartford has a smile and usually stops for a quick chat. After a while I felt they were more like friends, many of whom I have made over the years. 

After about a year I got involved with helping at the Open Gardens, Coffee Mornings and flower arranging with the Patient Group. On occasion (and also as I was still working in a Playgroup), I was asked if I would look after patients’ children at holiday times so they could attend the Patient Group. I had some lovely times in the Playroom until the Group moved to Northfleet.

After four years at ellenor I had my own bereavement when I lost my husband. I was greatly helped by everyone there which was as good as having counselling to me. Since 2007 when Ellenor Foundation and Lions Hospice amalgamated, I have graduated on to “doing reception” at both locations and made many more friends. I still thoroughly enjoy all I do and always feel that I get more out of volunteering for EllenorLions Hospices than I put in. I’m looking forward to the next fifteen years (here’s hoping!)

Pauline Tester

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