It was 6am when Brian Holmes was harshly awoken while sleeping in a hospital bed. Still feeling the effects of an operation to remove his gallbladder, along came a breakfast trolley of clinking plates and clanking cutlery, with squeaky wheels to boot.
‘I remember thinking to myself: “If I worked in a hospital, the first thing I’d do would be to make sure that nothing made a noise”,’ Brian recalled. ‘And that’s what first inspired me to volunteer on the ward at Saint Francis Hospice.’
Since 2008, Brian has been here, there and everywhere at the Hospice. He started by taking patients’ orders and (quietly) delivering refreshments. Now, Brian volunteers on reception and at Tea and Talk at Toby’s – the Hospice’s monthly social gathering for anyone whose life has been affected by cancer.
‘I’m here to listen and hopefully make them feel happier,’ he explained. ‘Members of the group sometimes find it difficult to be completely open with friends and family, and that’s how Tea and Talk can help.
‘People can become introverted at home. The four walls can encroach, and they can start thinking that they’re alone. At Tea and Talk, they share those problems and all the emotions they are going through, or they don’t have to talk about cancer if they don’t want to.’
Now 80, Brian cites volunteering as one of the most rewarding things he’s ever done. ‘It’s so fulfilling to know that you’ve contributed,’ he said. ‘I didn’t want to take things from life without putting something back in. Cancer does affect a lot of people’s lives, so it’s important to help the cause.’
By volunteering for Saint Francis Hospice, you can help people whose lives have been affected by a life-limiting illness. They need people to do all different kinds of jobs.
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