Vital volunteers work over 10,000 hours in just three months

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An amazing army of volunteers keep the local hospice, Lindsey Lodge, afloat and the incredible care given wouldn’t exist without their help.

The service which cares for people with life-limiting illnesses has over 500 volunteers working in the hospice shops, warehouse and the hospice itself.

The past three months have seen a total of 13,107 hours worked by an array of volunteers and this equates to saving the hospice over £85,000 of wages.

One of the hospices longest serving volunteers of 23 years, Jeff Harris (pictured), works on reception and his wife Cynthy works in the hospice Ashby shop.

Jeff, a former teacher of 25 years at John Leggott College, said: “My son Paul passed away with testicular cancer at the age of 21 and so this inspired me to give something back and volunteer at the hospice.

“At the time he was diagnosed I was at university doing a masters and he was at university too. He was cared for at Leeds and Scunthorpe hospital- the hospice didn’t exist then. So when it first opened I got involved volunteering because it was something close to my heart and I was retired too so I wanted to keep myself occupied.”

Before Jeff volunteered he fundraised for the hospice whilst it was being built by taking up running at the age of 39.

“Altogether I have done 25 marathons and a few 24 hour races too,” added Jeff, aged 73 from Bottesford.

“I fundraised for cancer charities and for Lindsey Lodge of course. For milestone birthdays I took on challenges such as when I was 50 I did a 50 mile run and for my 70th I did a triathlon.”

Jeff has seen the hospice expand over the years, with it starting off just with the Day Care service and eventually expanding with the In-Patient unit.

“The hospice has changed a lot and I only used to answer the phone around ten times a day but now it’s ringing all the time,” he added.

“I really enjoy it and it keeps me busy!”

Nerissa Gallagher, volunteer services manager from Lindsey Lodge Hospice, said: “We truly appreciate volunteers like Jeff and we can’t thank them enough for the hours and hard work they put in.

“We have volunteers with a range of skills aged 18 to 80 and all their roles are vital in making the hospice the caring and welcoming place it is.

“A lot goes on behind the scenes too which many may not realise such as the large operation at the warehouse including our online shop and at the back of our shops mostly volunteers and staff prepare kindly donated goods ready for selling.”

The hospice is always looking for new volunteers but it is desperately seeking volunteer receptionists to cover the evening shift of 4pm to 8pm as well as complementary therapists during the week. If you could help, please call Nerissa on 01724 270835.

Lindsey Lodge Hospice has other festive events coming up:

* Christmas Coffee Morning takes place on Wednesday, December 2, from 10am to noon at Burton Village Hall. For more information call Pam on 01724 721192.

* YuleFest takes place on Tuesday, December 8, from 7.30pm at Old Brumby United Church as part of the Festival of Christmas Trees. There will be seasonal traditional folk dance from Tatterfoals Morris and both humorous and festive songs from Clarty Sough together with a chance to join in with “pub carols”. It costs £5 and to book call 07936 459020. Tickets also available at the door.

* Afternoon Tea and Christmas Bingo takes place on Thursday, December 17, from 2pm at Messingham Village Hall. It is £6 and for more information call Val on 01724 764324.

* Afternoon hospice Carol Service takes place on Tuesday, December 8, from 2pm at Old Brumby United Church. There will be the opportunity to view the Christmas Trees and see the Elderberries choir. It is free and no tickets are required.

* Santa Stride takes place on Saturday, December 12, from 10am at the New Life Church. It is a fun walk for all ages and suits all abilities. First 150 people to register get a free Santa suit. To book call the hospice on 01724 843731.

* Evening Hospice Carol Service takes place on Sunday, December 20, from 6pm at St Bernadette’s Church. It is a free event and no tickets are required.