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Ashgate Hospice > ‘My family have never seen me so happy!’ – Ashgate Hospice shop volunteer urges others to help out

“Since I started volunteering at Ashgate Hospice my family say they’ve never seen me so happy!” 

Those are the words of 74-year-old Gloria Cantrell, a Volunteer Retail Assistant at the North Derbyshire charity’s shop in Matlock. 

As a regular shopper, Gloria decided to enquire about volunteering at her local shop and joined the team in February 2023. 

She wanted to give back to the hospice after her sister-in-law, Elaine Thirkle, received care at the hospice’s Inpatient Unit in Old Brampton. 

Gloria said: “It all started about seven years ago. I lost my husband Neville firstly, then my sister-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer. 

“Elaine used to go to Ashgate’s day centre every Wednesday and then for the last weeks of her life was admitted to the Inpatient Unit. 

“I would head to the hospice and visit her every day. The care was brilliant – you couldn’t fault it, and Elaine would have said the same. 

“It was after she died that I decided I wanted to do something good in return. At first I did some fundraising and then I went into the shop to ask about volunteering. I’m so glad I did!” 

Before retiring nine years ago, Gloria spent 25 years at the Basset’s sweet factory in Sheffield, before working at a bakers for another two decades. 

Now she volunteers at the Matlock shop four times a week, and said she loves being part of the team.  

From serving customers to sorting through clothes, toys and jigsaws, Gloria takes on a range of tasks and regularly enjoys dressing up when fancy dress costumes get donated.   

For Volunteers’ Week, which takes place between 3rd and 9th June, Gloria is appealing for more people to volunteer at Ashgate Hospice’s shops. 

She said: “My husband died quite suddenly and after that I said life is too short, you’ve just got to go and do things, and make the most of it!  

“I used to go into the shop when I moved over to the area and then I saw a sign outside the door asking for volunteers, so I went for it. 

“Signing up as a volunteer is the best thing I’ve ever done. There is such a sense of satisfaction that you’re doing something positive and helping people. 

“I often work with Sarah and Ellie, and the customers love it when we’re in the shop together.  

“My family tells me they’ve never seen me so happy since I started volunteering!” 

Are you interested in volunteering? There are a range of roles available at Ashgate Hospice to suit a variety of skills and interests.   

Not only do volunteers benefit from gaining work experience and socialising with different people, but their efforts help fund vital palliative and end of life care services for patients and families.  

Find out more about volunteering or call 01246 568801. 

Gloria enjoys modelling some of the donated items at the shop