29th July 2021

Hospice volunteer awarded medal for distinguished service

A dedicated volunteer who spent over a decade serving a local hospice, has been honoured with a prestigious award.

Stella Reeve, from Hallow, near Worcester, was nominated by St Richard’s Hospice to receive the accolade – which is titled Badge of the Order of Mercy – and will collect it at a special ceremony held in London this September.

The award recognises the work of volunteers who have spent at least seven years working to support others, including those living with a life-limiting illness. Only 50 medals are awarded to volunteers from around the country each year.

Mrs Reeve – who recently retired from the role – had volunteered as a Complementary Therapist for St Richard’s Hospice since 2006 and was pivotal in developing the use of aromatherapy oils within hospice services, providing significant benefits to patients.

St Richard’s Chief Executive June Patel said,” For the entirety of her time as a volunteer, Stella has sought to develop her own knowledge in the area of aromatherapy in palliative care in order to shape our service, including studying at the Christie Hospital and The Royal Marsden. Her application of knowledge and contribution has ensured that patients experience specific symptom relief as well as relief from anxiety and stress.

“Her approach to patient well-being has enlightened our clinical team to the benefits of aromatherapy alongside medical treatment, providing a holistic approach to patient care.”

Mrs Patel added, “In particular, Stella has pioneered the use of essential oils in mouthcare and this has resulted in significant benefits to patients, relieving conditions such as dry mouth, mouth ulcers and pain.  Relief of these debilitating symptoms has afforded patients greatly improved quality of life, nutrition and social interaction.”

“Stella is a truly deserving winner of the Order of Mercy for her service to St Richard’s Hospice, which has gone so much beyond that expected of a volunteer and made a significant impact on the well-being of hospice patients. In the words of a patient, “Stella gives a wonderful sense of well-being”. 

Mrs Reeve said: “It is an unexpected honour for me to receive this award. I am very grateful for the encouragement and friendship of the whole hospice team – it has been a real privilege and pleasure to serve alongside them. Volunteering has been richly rewarding for me, especially in getting to know many patients and to be able to use aromatherapy to truly complement their other treatments. My thanks again to the hospice team for nominating me for the award.”

To become a hospice volunteer call the HR and Volunteers department on 01905 763963 or find out details on our website

 St Richard’s Hospice cares for adults with a serious progressive illness, improving their quality of life from diagnosis, during treatment and to their last days. It also supports their loved ones.  

Each year the hospice team supports more than 3,300 patients, family members and bereaved people in Worcestershire. 

St Richard’s is an independent charity and relies on donations and gifts in Wills for the majority of its income with the remainder funded by the NHS.