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Patients and families facing their last Christmas together will continue receiving vital care thanks to the dedication and selflessness of Ashgate Hospice’s volunteers.
June Spreckley and Lynne North, who volunteer on the hospice’s Inpatient Unit, will be at the hospice on the morning of Christmas Day this year.
June, 70, will forever be grateful for Ashgate after her husband Pete received “invaluable” care at the end of his life.
Pete died at the hospice’s Inpatient Unit in February last year, aged 71, after being diagnosed with incurable blood cancer.
Before his death, he was admitted twice – initially for symptom and pain management support and then for end of life care in his final days.
June says the staff and volunteers were “remarkable” and because of this, she talked to Pete before he died about giving back to the hospice in the future.
“The care was invaluable to both Pete and myself,” said June. “The patience, kindness and dedication to making Pete comfortable cannot be praised highly enough.
“Everyone should be able to have the death my Pete had: free of pain and in such good hands; the team continued to treat him with dignity and compassion and spoke to him every time they entered our room.
“This kindness and compassion was extended to myself and our family throughout this period and I was amazed by these acts of compassion.
“The difference this made to me, knowing my husband was able to leave this earth free of pain cannot ever be underestimated.”
As ward volunteers, June and Lynne have several duties, from taking meal orders and serving food and drinks to offering support and empathy to patients.
With Christmas this year falling on a Monday – the usual day the pair help at the hospice – they both agreed they would still volunteer, as the hospice’s care doesn’t stop during the festive season.
Lynne, from Chesterfield, retired from the ambulance service a year ago and wanted to give up her time to continue helping people.
Similarly to June, it will be her first Christmas volunteering at the hospice; she says she is looking forward to bringing some festive cheer to patients and their families.
The 66-year-old said: “The hospice is a lovely, happy place to be part of; I love talking to patients and their families, especially when you see them feel well enough to return home.
“This will be my first time working at Christmas so I’m not too sure what to expect, but I think it will just be like a normal day – filled with lots of sparkle!
“I usually see my children and grandchildren on Christmas morning but they are getting older now, so I have explained to them how important it is that I volunteer instead this year.
“They completely understand and wish the best for me. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone for a late lunch and then spending the rest of the day with them.”
June started volunteering nine months ago and will be at the hospice on Christmas morning to help “bring the festive spirit to Ashgate”.
After completing her morning shift at the hospice between 8:30am and 1:30pm, she will spend the afternoon with her son celebrating Christmas at his house in Chesterfield.
“I am so grateful for the hospice,” added June. “I get a sense of deep satisfaction by volunteering, knowing that hopefully I am able to help in any way to emulate the wonderful care my husband had.
“As volunteers we feel valued that we are contributing something to society, whilst meeting new people and making new friends in a wonderful environment.
“I anticipate that alongside all the care and diligence the nursing team will deliver, our staff and volunteers will engage with patients and one another to bring the festive spirit to Ashgate this year.”
The North Derbyshire hospice has hundreds of volunteers who carry out a range of vital roles to support the charity’s services.
Anyone interested in volunteering at Ashgate Hospice can find more about the roles available on the hospice’s website.