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Pam’s story – My nineteen-year volunteering journey

Pam Smith shares her experience of volunteering for Hospiscare for over nineteen years

Pam Smith from Tiverton began her volunteering journey in 2001. Like many of our dedicated volunteers, Pam began volunteering for Hospiscare after experiencing our charity’s service first hand. Pam explains,

“At such a raw time in my life after losing my husband, it felt like the right thing for me. I felt I was doing something important for a charity who help people like my husband.”

Pam began volunteering at the Hospiscare shop in Tiverton alongside Helen Hutter, who is now Head of Retail at Hospiscare. Helen persuaded Pam to join Tiverton’s Hospiscare Support Group and Pam soon became the group’s chairperson.

A group of women and one man

Pam photographed at the official opening of Pine Lodge with members of the Tiverton Friends of Hospiscare. From left to right: Jenny Norman, Gill Wood, Kevin Hunt, Sue Norman, Ruth Hill-King and Pam in the centre.

Pam describes her adventures with the support group fondly and highlights the success of their campaign to fund a new day hospice in Tiverton. The Tiverton Support Group raised a phenomenal £125,000, which was generously matched by an anonymous donor from the community, and Pam is pictured above with the group on the opening day of Pine Lodge in 2011.

After 11 years of volunteering for Hospiscare, Pam received her Long Service Volunteering award. She received a further Award of Volunteering Merit and to this day does not know who put her forward for this honour, which states: “Pam is a marvellous all-rounder and will never say no and will do anything for Hospiscare. We couldn’t do without her.”

Despite retiring from her post as chairperson of the Tiverton Support Group in 2015, Pam’s volunteering journey continued. During the first COVID-19 lockdown, three of her friends from the support group encouraged Pam to join them at the Hospiscare Enterprise Centre (HEC) in Marsh Barton. As our main hub for donations, volunteers are always needed at the HEC to sort the items we receive. Pam explains, “Lockdown was really difficult as I wasn’t able to see my family. I felt I had to do something.

“I volunteer every Friday sorting the clothes. I really enjoy the company as I volunteer with such lovely people. “Wednesday and Friday have become the focus of my weeks. I look forward to Wednesdays when I take care of my grandchildren and when they have gone home, I look forward to Fridays at the HEC.”

Pam speaks warmly of the friends she has made during her years of volunteering for Hospiscare, saying: “I can’t imagine not knowing the friends I have made during my time volunteering. I feel very lucky that we are still such great friends after all of these years.”