“I feel really valued as a volunteer and I’ve made some good friends”

Jean and her husband

This year’s national Hospice Care Week (9-16 October) is designed to help show the many faces of hospice care. Here at Barnsley Hospice we’re sharing the stories of just some of the wonderful people who help our patients and their families, in many different ways. 

On our final day, we’re introducing…

Jean Thompson-Banks, volunteer 

Jean is one of our longest-serving volunteers, joining the team before the hospice welcomed its first patient.  She got more than she was expecting from the role when she met her husband, a fellow volunteer, just a few months later. 

“When I retired from my job at Barclays bank, I went on holiday for a week and started as a volunteer the day after I got back. I like to keep busy!

I began my time with the hospice as a coordinator for volunteer drivers, a role I held until a few months ago, when I moved across to the fundraising team. 

My main duty now is coordinating other volunteers for events and for collections. I also help with the organisation of sales tables, selling jewellery, bags and scarves – an initiative I began many years ago.  They can now make up to £800 at each event and a permanent sale cabinet at the reception of the Holiday Inn, which I keep stocked up, can make £40 a week. 

I’m also an archivist for the hospice, gathering posters and articles and sorting them into the appropriate year, to build up a record of its history.  I’m in every Friday and help at events at least six times a year.

I met my husband Malcolm when he started as a volunteer driver just a few months after I took on the role of coordinator. We lived together for 22 years before I finally married him last year at the age of 72! Some of the fundraising team came to the wedding and we will celebrate our first anniversary on 27th October. 

I feel really valued as a volunteer and I’ve made some good friends, who I see outside of the hospice too.  The people I work with are brilliant and are always so appreciative. The hospice is part of me now.”

What is your favourite memory of your time at Barnsley Hospice?

“The 20th anniversary in 2014 stands out for me, when I got a certificate for being a long-standing volunteer. I was also nominated to escort the Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the afternoon at a celebration event at the hospice.”

What one thing would you like people to know about Barnsley Hospice? 

“I want people to know what a great organisation it is to volunteer for. People often ask me how I can volunteer at a hospice, ‘where people are dying’, but they don’t understand what it’s like here. It’s a place of fun and of life.”

If you are interested in volunteering opportunities at Barnsley Hospice, please contact Barbara Cronin on 01226 323616 or email barbara.cronin@barnsley-hospice.org


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