10,000 Hours of Volunteering: the Ross Shop Retirement Party for Fay and Margaret

Hospice Shop Says Goodbye to Two Longtime Volunteers

On Wednesday 6th April, the doors to the Ross-on-Wye St Michael’s Hospice Shop were closed early so that grateful staff could throw a retirement party for two long-standing volunteers. After 25 and 23 years respectively, Fay Lerego and Margaret Hamblin are finally taking themselves off their Thursday rotation in the shop.

Hospice Shop Manager Sandra Harnwell is very sorry to see them go: ‘They are so lovely, nothing’s too much trouble for them. In fact, all our volunteers are like family here, with several long-term volunteers. I like to think that means we’re a good charity to volunteer for.”

Fay, born and bred in Ross, started working for the very first Hospice Shop when it was only a tiny place at Swan Corner filled with plastic donation bags. ‘I happened to walk by one day on the way to a river walk when a friend inside the shop called me in. Peggy Fisher asked me whether I could spare a few hours a week to help out, and that was it. I loved every minute of it, especially the company. I started working with Margaret at the Brook End shop a few years later, and we’ve been working as a team ever since. Twenty five years later, it’s been the best part of my life.’

Margaret came to the Hospice Shop in a different fashion. Born in Hong Kong while her father was in the Colonial Service, Margaret was sent to the Philippines under General MacArthur and then on to Sydney after the outbreak of WWII in the Pacific. She came back to the UK in 1945. ‘I always worked, first in a solicitor’s and then an estate agent’s office. At the age of 60 I retired and my friend asked if I would volunteer at the Hospice Shop. I’ve worked every Thursday ever since. I always knew it was a good cause to work for, but after my husband Fred died of leukaemia at the Hospice, I thought of it as a cause that I believed in. The care he received there in those two weeks was exceptional.’

At the retirement party, volunteers brought in refreshments while Hospice Retail staff brought in flowers for both ladies. Nicola Wood, Head of Retail and Trading, gave a short speech. Nicola had worked out that both women had donated over 10,000 hours together over the long service to the Ross Hospice Shop. “Your dedication is part of what makes this shop so special,’ Nicola continued.

Over the past 25 years, the Ross-on-Wye Hospice Shop is estimated to have brought in over £1 million pounds for St Michael’s Hospice, but without dedicated volunteers like Fay and Margaret, this amount would be significantly lower.

If you would like to volunteer at the Ross Hospice Shop, please pop into the shop for an application form or visit our website on http://www.st-michaels-hospice.org.uk/shops/volunteering/