Note: This article appeared in the Weston Mercury on 15 June 2017. Click here to read it on the Weston, Worle and Somerset Mercury page.
More than 50 volunteers have been presented with awards celebrating their service to Weston Hospicecare.
The charity, which is based in Uphill, held a ceremony and cream tea celebration at the Royal Hotel to mark Volunteer Appreciation Week.
Four people were awarded for volunteering with the hospice for 15 years, 12 volunteers were honoured for dedicating 10 years to the charity and 35 supporters were awarded for five years of service.
Maria Beaton, Weston Hospicecare’s volunteer and training manager, said: “We are so grateful to all of our volunteers, who freely give their time and expertise to help support the hospice, our patients and their loved ones.
“As many members of staff at the hospice wrote in their messages of gratitude to our volunteers, the hospice simply wouldn’t exist without the support that our volunteers provide.”
The hospice provides care and support to people from across North Somerset who are suffering from life-limiting illnesses.
Around 20 per cent of its funding comes from the NHS, which means it needs to raise a further £2.7million each year to keep it running.
Volunteers play a huge part in keeping running costs down and the charity currently has around 650 active volunteers.
Weston Hospicecare’s chief executive Paul Winspear, praised the dedicated volunteers and thanked the Royal Hotel for providing the room free of charge for the ceremony.
He said: “On behalf of all of us here at Weston Hospicecare, we’d like to say a massive thank you to the Royal Hotel for providing the perfect venue for our volunteers’ cream teas last week.
“It’s important that we’re able to make our volunteers feel special and spoil them a little, and the Birnbeck Suite and the wonderful kitchen staff at the Royal Hotel certainly helped us to do that.
“Our volunteers give freely of their own time to help us look after our patients and their families, so it’s nice to be able to give a little back to them at this event.”
The charity also thanked Pullin’s Bakery for donating scones, Yeo Valley for providing the cream, Lidl for donating hampers to raffle and Somerset Cuisine for the jam.
There are 40 different roles volunteers can sign up to including driving people to appointments, helping in the charity’s shops, carrying out administration tasks or greeting people in reception.
Weston Hospicecare is desperately appealing for more volunteer drivers, especially on Thursdays. Helpers are also needed in the hospice shops.
Martyn Brummel and Sylvia Wilkins rely on volunteer drivers to enable them to access the support available at the hospice. Martyn said: “I find the transport to the hospice so important. The drivers are so good to me, helping me into the hospice and into my home.”
Sylvia added: “The drivers are so generous with giving their time. It’s so important to me, being able to come for just one day. I honestly don’t think I would still be here without the support of the hospice.”
Anyone interested in volunteering can email email@example.com or call the volunteering team on 01934 423900.