Stuart's volunteer journey

I looked around the hospice with my late wife. We were both extremely impressed with what we saw but she actually died much sooner than we all thought so didn’t actually get to experience the wonderful care that Dove House provide. Fast forward and I found myself in early retirement, I always knew that I wanted to use that time in the voluntary sector.

I since met my wife Sandra and we both talked about volunteering and said “Shall we go to Dove House and see if they need any help”. They very quickly snapped up our offer, that was six years ago and we are still here loving every minute of it.

I originally volunteered driving the ambulance which picked up patients and would bring them to the hospice for Day Therapy and then I would take them home again. This was a fabulous opportunity and I loved talking to patients and built up such good friendships with some of the regulars. It was such a rewarding role and I was quite sad when Covid hit. My volunteering didn’t stop there though, an opportunity came up to be a lottery box collector within the Fundraising department. I also volunteer at the Retail Distribution Centre sorting through all of the donations which have been so kindly given to be sold in the shops. 

Volunteering can be such a social thing and has opened so many different opportunities for me and Sandra. We volunteer at practically every fundraising event, there’s never a dull moment. The beauty is we can do it together and we always have such fun! We even volunteered at the new Together in Grief walks that were set up last year. We took up walking in the lockdowns and this fit in really nicely for us. We built up such good friendships we have now become part of their other walking group as well and socialise together. These are all things that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t make the decision to volunteer.

We really cannot see an end to our volunteering journey at Dove House. We get as much out of it as we put in. Life is about family and volunteering for us, volunteering fits in nicely around being able to visit our loved ones and enjoy the special moments in life.