VOLUNTEERS who have clocked up 103 years of service between them have been championed for their charity work.
The 38 volunteers attended a special ceremony at St Benedict’s Hospice, in Ryhope, where they were awarded certificates for their long service.
Among them were Val Hamilton and Val Hughes, both of whom have been volunteering at the hospice for 20 years.
Val Hamilton, of Sunderland, who helps serve lunches to patients and families on the in-patient unit, began volunteering at the hospice’s former site, Monkwearmouth Hospital, in Newcastle Road, with a friend who had recently retired.
“At the time I’d recently lost my dad to cancer and I felt I could empathise with families who were going through a similar experience to me. It’s a wonderful organisation and I’ve enjoyed working here so much,” she said.
Val Hughes, also of Sunderland, began volunteering after spotting an article in her Church magazine on the hospice. Today, she volunteers every Tuesday by serving teas on the in-patient unit and helps with fund-raising where she can.
“I love volunteering here and I’ve made lots of friends over the years among staff, other volunteers and, in some cases, with relatives of patients,” she said.
“Of course, there have been some sad moments too but the hospice is such a happy place to be. “We both hope to continue volunteering for as long as possible.”
Derek Moss, chairman of trustees at St Benedict’s, thanked the volunteers for their hard work and loyal service.
He said: “Without the dedication of people like the two Vals, the hospice wouldn’t be able to function.
“We are so grateful for their kind support over the years.”
Peter Davidson, chairman of South Tyneside Foundation Trust, presented the volunteers with their awards.