It wasn’t until Kelly Paveley started managing a pub in Collier Row that she realised how big a role Saint Francis Hospice plays in the community. ‘I was always overwhelmed by my regulars’ generosity when I asked if they could put some money in the pot for the Hospice,’ she said.
‘It became clear that Saint Francis Hospice held a special place in their hearts.’ Kelly would ask for loose coins but would often end up with notes. ‘The Hospice became my passion because of my customers,’ Kelly revealed.
After many years collecting money for the charity, it turned out that she did know someone who needed the Hospice’s care, her partner’s grandad. Dennis Paveley had been a volunteer at Hospice’s charity retail store in Elm Park before he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
‘Once Dennis got to the Hospice, he didn’t want to leave,’ Kelly recalled. ‘He loved being there despite all he was going through. The nurses cared for him so wonderfully.’ Kelly admitted that she loves being at Saint Francis Hospice too. Now working at Drapers’ Academy in Harold Hill, Kelly gives up what spare time she has to volunteer in the Fundraising team.
‘I’m here to do the little jobs and free up the fundraisers’ time to raise money,’ she explained. ‘I remember when I first came to the Hospice I was expecting an unhappy place filled with doom and gloom. It’s the complete opposite, it’s a beautiful place.’
Kelly is asking others to put any preconceptions to one side and join her in volunteering. ‘You have everything to gain and nothing to lose,’ she said. ‘It’s an amazing feeling to know that you’re helping patients and their families.’
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