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Dedicated volunteers drive 80,000 miles for hospice

1st June 2017

Hospice chaplain Clare Griffiths with volunteers Mike and Mary Hammond Resized

A dedicated pair of volunteer drivers have had their hard work recognised after clocking up more than 80,000 miles for St Richard’s Hospice.

Mary and Mike Hammond, from Evesham, were presented with The Geoff Palmer Vocational Award 2017 from The Rotary Club of Worcester Severn for tirelessly driving patients to and from the hospice in Worcester.

The couple, who have been married for 52 years, began volunteering for St Richard’s in 2010 and between them have driven countless patients to sessions at the Day Hospice, appointments at the Snowdrop Centre, to carers meetings, family support groups clinics and home again.

They even continued their volunteer work when they were both diagnosed with cancer four years ago – for which they are still receiving treatment.

Mr Hammond, aged 74, said: “We were absolutely stunned to receive the award. We both feel that we have not done anything different to anybody else.

“It is a nice way to fill your time. The people at the Hospice are so kind and so friendly. The patients are so lovely to be with and really appreciate what the volunteers do for them.

“The hospice has always been so kind to us and we are not taken for granted.”

And Mr Hammond won’t be stopping volunteering any time soon, saying he will keep going until he can’t drive any longer.

While most of the couple’s passengers are from the Evesham area, they have been known to travel as far as Malvern and Droitwich to pick patients up.

Mrs Hammond, aged 72, who is a retired social services home care assistant, added: “It is just nice to be involved with other people when they need help and they are so lovely and friendly to be with.

“This award really gobsmacked us both, we don’t do it to be praised.”

The couple live in the Hampton area of Evesham.

Clare Griffiths, hospice chaplain and Chair of the Vocation and Youth Opportunities Committee at The Rotary Club of Worcester Severn, said: “The Rotary Club of Worcester Severn seek to recognise the unsung heroes in society who give of their time and resources for the benefit of other people.

“In many ways all of the volunteers at St Richard’s are deserving of an award, but this year Mike and Mary stood out as shining examples of the values that the Geoff Palmer Awards stand for.

“Many congratulations and thanks to them both.”

This week, St Richard’s is championing the work of its volunteers – including Mr and Mrs Hammond –  as part of national Volunteers’ Week, which runs from Thursday 1 June to Wednesday 7 June.

A ‘thank you’ board will be placed in the reception area at St Richard’s in Wildwood Drive, Worcester, while a special cheese and wine evening will be hosted by the hospice on Friday, June 9, in appreciation of volunteers’ hard work over the last year.

More than 900 active volunteers help support every aspect of St Richard’s life – from working in charity shops and fundraising, to supporting patients in their own homes and bringing their life-skills to support the compassionate care the hospice provides.

During the last financial year, volunteers gave up 143,506 hours of their time to help care for patients and families, saving the hospice £1,022,601.32.

A total of 26,739 of volunteers’ hours were worked in patient services, saving the hospice £230,877.81.

St Richard’s Hospice provides free specialist palliative care for patients living with life-limiting illnesses and supports their loved ones. Each year the hospice team supports over 2,500 patients and family members in Worcestershire.

The hospice strives to provide the best medical, practical, emotional and social support they can to help people live life to the fullest, as independently as they can, for as long as they can.

St Richard’s is an independent charity and is grateful for all donations to help it continue its work.

Find out more at www.strichards.org.uk