Stories from the Heart – John

Nearly three quarters of the workforce at the Hospices give their time voluntarily, without whom many of the services simply couldn’t run. John is a volunteer in the Fundraising Department and is very passionate about the cause after spending time with a friend On the Ward at Sam Beare. He explains his reasons for choosing the charity to give his time to.

“I have known about the hospices for around 12 years. I had first-hand experience of their care when a friend of mine passed away at Sam Beare after severe cancer of the colon. Phillip lived alone and so finally had to accept that he could no longer look after himself at home and was referred to the hospice. He spent 2 months there; I visited him every day and I can honestly say it was the happiest and saddest time of my life. I was in an environment with like-minded people and was able to comfort them because we were all going through similar things.

My friend was looked after by nurses who got to know him and joked with him, making his last few weeks very enjoyable. I was with him when he died and, after that, I’d spent so long there that I didn’t want to leave the hospice. There is an enormous amount of reward in giving your time to help others feel better, and the self-respect and feeling of being worthwhile that I had whilst I was there made me re-evaluate my life completely. Now I volunteer for the hospices in any capacity they need me. At the moment, I distribute collecting tins (I am always looking for new places to put them) and I give talks to groups about the work they do. It is so effective; at the last event 150 people raised over £700 which is a superb gift. At the moment I am mainly giving talks about the New Build Appeal although I have also presented to people about the children’s services. Most recently I have started compiling a series of photographs of the New Build in Woking, to document its development, and I hope that when it is finished, the photos will be displayed for people to look at. I am also the current President of the Woking Rotary and the charity is one of our main beneficiaries.

I love my hospice because people there spend time caring. We live in a very aggressive and fast-paced modern world so it’s wonderful to have a place where the nurses are so kind and professional and the doctors have so much time for you.

Although it is important to donate to the hospices if you can, alternatively, not enough people are able or willing to give their time to charity and I urge them to if wherever possible, because it is equally as important. My experience with Phillip opened up for me a brand new world of caring which is available to anyone for the taking if only they wish to try it. The emotional rewards are immense and where better to give your time than the hospice.”

To find out more about how to become a volunteer or how to donate to the New Build Appeal visit