Bernie Murphy has been a volunteer driver at Saint Francis Hospice for 16 years. He chauffeurs outpatients to and from the Hospice’s social hub for local people at any stage of a life-limiting illness.
It’s at Pemberton Place where they can enjoy the benefits of live music, physiotherapy, beauty treatments and exercise, all while putting the world to rights over a cup of tea.
Thanks to Bernie, Saint Francis Hospice outpatients are spared from the stress, discomfort and difficulties of driving or using public transport, which is difficult for many and impossible for most.
‘I’ve never been good at just sitting at home, so I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t volunteer,’ he said. ‘I love it so much. I’ve met so many wonderful people at the Hospice.’
When Bernie is driving patients to the Hospice for the first time, he admitted that they are often scared. ‘Many think that a hospice means ‘the end’, but it’s far from the end. I tell them that Saint Francis Hospice is where they are going to get a lot of help and have loads of fun.
‘I let them know that they will only be fearful for the first hour or so. Whenever they ask me what to expect at the Hospice, I will say that it’s like a first-class hotel.’
In all his years of voluntary driving, not one person has said to Bernie that they don’t want to come back to the Hospice. ‘They all can’t wait until the next time, and neither can I!’
Bernie is calling for more people to join him in volunteering; Saint Francis Hospice needs people to do all different jobs.