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Teenage twins who volunteer at Ashgate Hospice will be spending Christmas helping others in memory of their Grandad.
Sisters, Alisha and Keris Hurrell, 17, from Temple Normanton in Chesterfield will spend Boxing Day volunteering on the Inpatient Unit and are hoping to inspire others to come forward.
The pair, who have been volunteering for six months, are Inpatient Unit Assistants that take food orders and serve meals. The sisters also enjoy getting to know the patients and spend time listening to their life stories.
Keris, who hopes to peruse a career in medicine, recalls how the hospice cared for her grandad three years ago.
She said: “I was in awe of the teamwork involved in his care, and I knew I wanted to be part of that team. I wanted to be able to give back to others who need their care and support. Volunteering is just one small way that I can repay them for the kindness they showed my family.
“It is incredibly rewarding to be able to give something back to my community and make a difference to the lives of those around me. But the best part about volunteering is seeing the smiles on the faces of those we care for.”
This year, the pair have put themselves forward for volunteering duties on Boxing Day to ensure that nobody feels alone at Christmastime.
Alisha said: “For most people, Christmas is a time for celebration with those closest to you. However, at the hospice it may also be a time of struggle. Volunteering over Christmas gives me the opportunity to change someone’s Christmas for the better. I want to be able to make someone’s time over Christmas a little easier, and to avoid any feelings of loneliness.
“I am gladly giving my time to the hospice over the festive period because it’s a small gesture that will mean so much to everyone.”
Volunteering has given the sisters a chance to build on their knowledge for a future career in medicine. It has also improved their communication and empathy skills, whilst building their overall confidence.
Alisha adds: “I have definitely changed since volunteering at the hospice. It has changed my perspective of my own life and has given me the opportunity to see how hard-working the doctors and nurses are.
“Some patients have even inspired me to stay determined and positive through difficult situations, which has been essential during these extraordinary times.”
The twin sisters are now calling for more people to consider joining Ashgate Hospice’s volunteer scheme.
Keris concludes: “Volunteering is a great opportunity for you to make a positive impact on other people’s lives. It enables you to play an active role in society, and just a few hours a week can contribute to a positive change.
“You might assume that volunteering at a hospice is depressing, but the truth couldn’t be further from this. There is always a friendly and supportive atmosphere, and I feel incredibly fortunate to be part of this.”
Matt Corbishley, Director of People and Performance for Ashgate Hospice, praised the amazing work of the selfless duo.
He said: “We are incredibly grateful for the commitment and dedication of volunteers like Alisha and Keris. Volunteers are at the heart of Ashgate Hospice and have been since we began more than 30 years ago.
“Without volunteers, we simply could not deliver the services that we do, but they give more than just their time, they uphold and embody our values, and are ambassadors within our community.
“We are incredibly grateful for each and every one of them.”