When patients and their families come into the hospice it’s fair to say they are going through tough times but twin sisters Lynne and Lesley do their upmost to make them feel comfortable.
The twins work side by side as ward volunteers on our Taunton In-patient Unit for two days each month and serve teas and coffees to patients and their families to offer them support and comfort.
Lynne and Lesley may be twins but they were both inspired to start volunteering for different reasons.
Lynne’s husband, Ian, was cared for by staff at St Margaret’s around 17 years ago after he was diagnosed with cancer, and he spent his last days at our Taunton In-patient Unit. Lynne was so pleased with the care Ian received at the hospice that she wanted to give back but it wasn’t until ten years later that she decided to take the plunge and volunteer for us.
“The care and support that Ian and I both received was nothing short of amazing,” Lynne said. “The staff did everything they could to make him comfortable. Ian’s legs had weakened due to the cancer so they made sure he was in a good bed and pain free to help. They looked after him, my sons and their wives.”
“After I had healed from the loss of my husband I decided to start volunteering at the hospice as I always felt that I would like to help them out and thank them for everything they did for us. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I love doing it.”
But Lesley’s journey into volunteering was different. She had heard about St Margaret’s and had always wanted to volunteer for us but had never got around to doing it. It wasn’t until Lesley saw Ian and close friends being cared for by staff at St Margaret’s that she decided to start volunteering. She saw the difference the hospice made to her loved ones and their families.
Not long after she started volunteering, Lesley’s husband, Brian, was diagnosed with lung cancer and then sadly the cancer spread to his bones and liver. He was cared for at home by the community nurses from St Margaret’s Hospice and died at home last year.
“After Brian died I wanted to get back into my volunteering. It was comforting to go back as it made me realise that I was not the only person who had lost a loved one,” Lesley said. “I also really enjoy working alongside my sister and meeting patients, it’s the best part of volunteering for me.”
Lynne and Lesley said they have no plans to stop volunteering and said they would encourage others to do the same.
“I’d really encourage anyone who is thinking of volunteering for St Margaret’s to do so as you get so much out of it,” Lynne said. “When Lesley and I go down to the ward we are always greeted with smiles from the nurses and the patients. The nursing staff are wonderful and always stop to chat to us and show their appreciation for what we do.”
“I really enjoy getting to know the patients and their families,” Lesley added. “Some patients are too ill to talk to us but we really enjoy listening to people’s stories and bringing them comfort while they are in the IPU. It’s such a rewarding thing to do and can make a real difference. If you have any time to spare and would like to volunteer, do it for St Margaret’s. They make a real difference.”
We’d like to thank Lynne and Lesley for sharing their story with us.