For many, retirement brings visions of finally relaxing, enjoying life, perhaps concentrating on yourself for once. But for a volunteering couple in Yeovil, Tim and Lin Hillard, it’s just meant more time to give to St Margaret’s.
When Lin’s Mum received care at St Margaret’s Hospice in Taunton, Lin was extremely grateful for the care, but living on the south side of Somerset meant that getting her to and from the hospice was quite a commitment. She could see just how much of a difference having an In-patient Unit and Day Hospice in the Yeovil area would make: “I vowed that if a hospice ever opened over here I’d be the first person on the door to volunteer.”
Lin was true to her word and in 2003, one week before the Yeovil hospice opened, she started training to become a volunteer receptionist.
“I was overwhelmed by the care my mum received and wanted to give something back to ensure other patients and families received the same care. At the same time my brother was in a hospice in another part of the country and it just showed me how important the right care at the right time can be.”
After Lin started volunteering her husband was soon to join. His first role was re-stocking the convenience trolley. “It’s a simple thing, but sometimes you don’t know what life is going to throw at you and I try to stock the trolley with the everyday essentials - the things that can make a real difference to people at a time when remembering toothpaste isn’t a top priority.”
Since then, not only does Tim keep the trolley stocked up, he also helps out in the garden, sings with the hospice choir, and generally puts his hand to anything that’s asked of him.
“It’s the best place I’ve ever worked! It’s such a nice atmosphere, the facilities and the environment are so welcoming and appreciated by patients and their families alike,” says Lin.
Tim and Lin know this only too well, as two years ago their daughter Lucy tragically passed away at the Yeovil hospice. “We are so grateful Lucy could be here at the end of her life, it was a home from home. We were all made to feel so welcome. Her partner, our family, and her friends were able to visit, feeling at home, able to spend quality time with her, and making peaceful memories,” Tim added.
For some, this experience would mean the hospice held painful and sad memories. But for Tim and Lin this isn’t the case and they are still committed volunteers. “Of course it was sad, but it was the best place for her and we are so grateful for the care she received. The staff were wonderful, their compassion is so evident in everything they do. The hospice is set in beautiful surroundings and the building is so welcoming. That’s what we remember from that time and that’s why we know how important the care St Margaret’s provides is. Volunteering is our way of giving something back.”
We’d like to say a huge “THANK YOU” to Tim and Lin.
If you are interested in volunteering for St Margaret's, take a look at our current volunteering opportunities here.