Three St Benedict's Hospice volunteers hailed after dedicating a total of 64 years to helping people in Sunderland

St Benedict’s Hospice said farewell to three volunteers who are retiring from their volunteering roles after dedicating 64 years between them to supporting patients and families from across Sunderland.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 3:10 pm
St Benedict's Hospice say farewell to volunteers (from left) Ellen Rowley, Val Hughes and Val Hamilton who have retired after dedicating 64 years between them. Back from left Specialist Palliative Care Services Julie Dagg, Hospice Matron Kirsty Wright and Chair of the Board Trustees Derek Moss.

Val Hamilton and Val Hughes have both been at the hospice for 27 years supporting patients and families on the inpatient ward and Ellen Rowley has welcomed visitors to the hospice at reception for 10 years.

Val Hamilton who has been a volunteer for 27 years, said: “I started volunteering in 1994 as I had some time on my hands and friends of mine told me about the hospice, which seemed like a very worthwhile cause.

"In my time as a volunteer I have met so many inspirational people, especially our patients, which is incredibly humbling.

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St Benedict's Hospice say farewell to volunteers (from left) Val Hughes, Ellen Rowley and Val Hamilton who have retired after dedicating 64 years between them.

"I’m retiring to spend more time with my family but I will miss everyone so much and will remain a great supporter of St Benedict’s Hospice as I know first-hand what an amazing place it is”.

Ellen Rowley, volunteer receptionist on the in-patient unit, said she decided to volunteer as, “I have always been interested in people and thought this would be worthwhile.”

She added that she thing she has enjoyed most has been: “Meeting all different people and feeling I was helping in some way.”

Val Hughes, volunteer on the in-patient unit, serving refreshments to patients and visitors and chatting to them, said she will really miss the role which made her feel, “I was helping and doing something to help others. I have also met some wonderful staff over the years and will miss the all.”

Kirsty Wright, Hospice Matron said: “We are so grateful to Val, Ellen and Val for their outstanding support of the hospice. They have supported hundreds of patients and their families over the years, as well as our staff, always with a smile and friendly word which is so valued by everyone they meet.”

Derek Moss, Chair of the Board of Trustees said: “Volunteers are the mainstay of our hospice services and fundraising activities and as we prepare to celebrate National Volunteers’ Week next week, we are delighted to thank Val, Ellen and Val and celebrate their amazing contribution to St Benedict’s Hospice.”

To find out more about volunteering and the many ways you can get involved with St Benedict’s Hospice you can visit their website at

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