Trinity Hospice and Brian House children’s hospice rely on its volunteers.
Whether they are helping to look after patients, cleaning or selling in one of the Trinity Hospice shops, the charity would not be able to run without them.
And the volunteers themselves say being at Trinity is something they look forward to every week.
Phyll Ingham, Christine Jesson and Lindsay Dunderdale volunteer in the gardens at the hospice on Low Moor Road, Bispham.
Together with Ray Shepherd they have transformed the once overgrown open space into an outdoor haven for patients and their relatives as well as staff and other volunteers.
While the gardens are looking spectacular, so too will the inside of Trinity and Brian House children’s hospice thanks to The Gazette’s £200,000 Hospice Heroes appeal which aims to help fund a massive refurbishment.
The work involves creating four new single rooms with en-suite facilities at Trinity, as well as replacing warped windows, and making Brian House brighter, safer and more appropriate for the changing needs of visiting children.
Critical to the future of the hospice is the sterling work of its volunteers.
Christine and Phyll started in the hospice garden two years ago.
Christine said: “When we started the garden was awfully overgrown.
“People have been wonderful and have been donating bulbs and plants. We’ve also become very good at asking for things. After we cut down the bushes the nurses were telling us the patients were asking to be sat near the window.
“Our work has given them such pleasure. One patient stopped us and said ‘thank you for what you are doing’ and patients tell us seeing all the colour in the garden makes them feel better.”
And last year Lindsay, who was already a volunteer at Brian House, took up gardening at the hospice as well.
She said: “We’ve spent nine months clearing the woodland and we’ve got about two thirds of the way round.
“It’s been very labour-intensive but now you can see the wood for the trees. It looks like a garden now, rather than an overgrown woodland.
“My life is at Trinity. I took early retirement from Civil Service and spent three or four days a week here between the garden and Brian House. I do more if they are desperate.
“I think of it like a second home. People say how can I spend so much time in a place which is all doom and gloom, but it’s not like that at all. I love it.”
The gardening team rely on donations. Phyll said: “We try and get by without asking Trinity for too much money and people have been really lovely in their support.
“We wouldn’t have this garden now without donations from the public.
“The staff, patients and volunteers make this place what it is. Everybody comments on the garden and that’s all we ever need.
“It’s great to know we are making a difference.”
Kath Herdman of South Shore also spends one morning a week volunteering at Trinity, and as a receptionist, she’s often the first person people see when they walk through the doors.
Kath, 71, said: “I have been retired about four years now. I felt like I wanted to do something to keep my mind occupied.
“I’ve known quite a few people who have suffered with cancer and I think it was that side of things that spurred me on to volunteer here. I like meeting people and I’ll do anything to help out.”
Like Lindsay in the garden, Kath said people asked her why she’d want to volunteer in a sad place like a hospice.
She said: “A lot of people have the impression that it’s a horrible place to be; a sad place to spent your time because people only come here to die. But it’s not like that.
“I was a bit nervous on my first day, but everybody is nice and friendly.
“I like meeting people when they come in and getting to know the staff.”
Kath is looking forward to seeing work start on the hospice’s biggest ever refurbishment.
She added: “The works that are planned are important to the staff, patients and volunteers. The environment needs to be right for them.”