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Discover what it is like to be a hospice volunteer for Chestnut Tree House from our volunteers, first hand and understand the benefits of volunteering today.
Dee Willmott has been volunteering at Chestnut Tree House as a receptionist for over ten years and loves every minute of it! Here, she tells us how she got involved and her experiences of helping the hospice.
“I was recruited in 2002 before the hospice even opened as they wanted someone to be on hand to open the door and deal with deliveries and questions. I saw the advert and, as a former Special Needs teacher, I thought ‘this is perfect, it’s just meant to be’.
“To be here at the beginning, to first of all see the furniture coming in, then the staff settling in and then, best of all, to see the children and families coming in, to see the House coming alive was fantastic! And I must love it because I am still here!”
As well as working on reception, Dee also helps the Fundraising Team at events, staffing registration desks, welcoming participants and looking after them.
Dee has also supported the hospice through her own fundraising and has even got her family involved. She has abseiled down Arundel Castle, organised a coffee morning on the Kingston Gorse Estate with her husband and friends, and her son, James, trekked the Inca Trail. Between them, they have raised over £3,000.
Leon volunteers as part of his Duke of Edinburgh Award at our Arundel shop.
He said: “I decided to volunteer for Chestnut Tree House so I could do something in my local community. My family have supported the hospice before and that’s how I heard about it.
“I really enjoy being in the shop and the variety of tasks to do, and I find it works so well alongside my school work and other D of E volunteering.”
Chris has been volunteering for Chestnut Tree House for 11 years.
“I first heard about Chestnut Tree House when my daughter showed us a letter from a mum who had such wonderful help from the hospice and wanted to make others aware of the House and what happens there.
“We have healthy children and grandchildren, and so knowing those families needed Chestnut Tree House, I wanted to help by raising money. I recommended them to my company for their Corporate Social Responsibility charity.
“Now, eleven years on, I am still raising as much money as I can and helping with many events throughout the year as well as my receptionist duties at the House once a week. I love meeting the children and young people who are coming to the House for a visit, their excitement and delight is priceless.
“I also enjoy meeting people at various events as I cannot praise Chestnut Tree House enough for what they do and I make sure everyone I meet knows it!”
“We lost my Uncle to cancer, and although he never got to use St Barnabas, when it came to doing a run to raise money in his memory, they seemed the perfect choice. I had done a few runs for charity already but never really felt a part of them, well until I met the amazing people at St Barnabas and Chestnut Tree House.
From day one everyone was so different, Jo invited me down to a runners’ coffee morning, We walked in and were immediately greeted by Jo who knew who I was and what I was going to attempt, immediately you notice, it’s about the people first. Well I did the 2 half marathons and the support was amazing both before and after and not once did you ever feel like it was just about the money.”
Mark then went on to volunteer at the Brighton Marathon.
“You are as much a part of the day as the runners and although you are there to help them, you always have a great enjoyable day and the spirit amongst the volunteers is brilliant. If you have ever thought of volunteering, give it a go!”
Five years on and Mark has ran or cheered at every Brighton marathon since and one volunteering event has turned in to 20-30 a year for us! Mark has taken part in so many events for us, and volunteered countless times. Thank you so much Mark!