One of our 1,200 volunteers is Elizabeth Yates, also one of our longest serving volunteers. Read what 93 year old Elizabeth told us about her experiences volunteering at the hospice...
"I started volunteering in 1984. I’d been living in Hong Kong for 4 years, during which time my mother passed away in a hospice in Aberdeen. When I returned to England, I started to see headlines in the paper about a hospice being built in Taunton – I remember thinking that was good, because my mother had spoken so highly of the hospice while she was there.
I was temping at the time and saw that the hospice needed a Fundraising Coordinator and I thought I could do that! The hospice accepted me and that’s how it all started.
I’ve done all sorts over the years – fundraising, organising events, money counting. When Princess Diana came I met her! I was one of the few introduced to her. It was lovely to meet her. I also met the Duchess of Kent when she came to open the first hospice.
I set up the first hospice shop in my summer house! There was just 1 home nurse then and she used to bring me clothes that families had donated from patients that had passed away. The mirror that customers would use is still up on the wall of my summer house now! We soon needed a proper shop though and that opened on Staplegrove Road in Taunton.
The biggest changes I've seen over the years have of course been the building of the new state of the art In-patient Unit in Taunton in 2009, and the building of the new In-patient Unit in Yeovil that opened in 2003 - this is the progress that we want and hopefully funding will keep coming to continue the progress of the hospice's work, and to maintain this wonderful thing we have for patients and their families.
I still volunteer for St. Margaret’s as I still feel that I want to give – to give help, to give what I can to support the hospice both through my time and financially. It’s also good for me; I’m on my own at home so it’s good for me to come here and be with other people. I’ve made so many friends over the years! I’ve enjoyed feeling a part of the hospice, meeting people and getting a good feeling from volunteering. As long as I’m of use I’ll keep volunteering, and it helps me feel good to know that I’m of use; in 1997 I won the Citizenship Award for Volunteering in the Community. I get a lot of satisfaction knowing that patients and their families are being cared for so amazingly and it needs to go on. I wish I could do more fundraising! I always wish I could do more – I don’t know how many years ago I said I would retire!
Anyone who has 1 hour, 2 hours, or any time at all to spare should get involved and should volunteer because it’s so satisfying and feels good to help. Do what you can, and as many hours as you can. It’s good at any age to volunteer, and to support and be an ambassador for the hospice!"
We'd like to say a massive, massive thank you to Elizabeth for her years of dedication to the hospice. This article cannot do justice to just how much she has done for St. Margaret's.
If you would like to get involved with volunteering for St. Margaret's Hospice, then check out our latest volunteering opportunities by clicking the link below.
Current Volunteer Vacancies