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Paula Lawford

Paula’s Hospiscare journey began on a cold January night in 1982 when she joined hundreds of others at a public meeting in Exeter to establish a hospice service in the city.

The French teacher decided to give her spare time to this cause. “I was very interested in the hospice movement so when I heard about Hospiscare I wanted to join up.”

She became a member of the Friends of Hospiscare, was on the committee and produced the newsletter.

“Initially we were the only income stream apart from donations or standing orders,” said Paula. In 1996 Paula became chair of the Exeter Friends of Hospiscare. “We were raising £60,000 a year through different fundraising events, services and a Saturday car park. The Friends are a wonderful group of people to work with. We are ambassadors for the charity.

Exeter Friends of Hospiscare has raised a staggering £1.25m since it started.

Paula was a Hospiscare trustee for 14 years, a role she thoroughly enjoyed. “My role was to remind the trustees of all the volunteers who were out in the cold collecting money in tins and organising fundraising events, not just the volunteers at the hospice.”

After changing her job from teacher to counsellor Paula spent six years as a Hospiscare bereavement visitor which she describes as an “amazing experience”.

“I have gained some good friends from volunteering with Hospiscare and I have a greater understanding of how people cope with a terminal illness. I’ve met some very brave people. I am full of admiration for the staff, they are absolutely wonderful.

“I feel very, very proud to be part of Hospiscare. I was really pleased to be a trustee during the development years when we decided to build a hospice, to have a lottery, and I helped choose Glynis Atherton as our chief executive.”

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering talk to our volunteering manager, Vicky, on 01392 688068.