Upminster volunteer encourages residents to support Saint Francis Hospice's important work across east London
PUBLISHED: 10:00 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:15 10 December 2019
A woman who has volunteered at a Saint Francis Hospice charity store for more than 10 years is calling for more supporters to take up the fulfilling work.
Pat Jones was part of a team that helped Saint Francis Hospice became a reality.
At a time when the founders of Saint Francis Hospice, Dr Dorothy Rule, Peter Smith and Joan Matthews, were looking for initial funding in 1984, Pat was baking and selling cakes to help the cause.
Little did Pat know that she would need the hospice 10 years later when her husband was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Pat had to take four months out from her job teaching at Gaynes School in Brackendale Gardens, Upminster to care for him.
"It was crazy," she said.
"I didn't get any sleep and had no experience of caring.
"I was at breaking point - I had reached the end of what I could do.
"As soon as I put Michael on his side, he would yelp in pain and ask me to turn him over again. It was mentally and physically draining."
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Saint Francis Hospice's Hospice at Home team stepped in to care for Michael.
"It didn't matter if it was the middle of the night, the nurses would come," Pat said.
Michael became an inpatient at the hospice, based in Broxhill Road, Havering-atte-Bower, for the final three weeks of his life.
He passed away four months after his diagnosis at the age of 51.
Pat has been volunteering at the hospice's Upminster charity retail store in St Mary's Lane for more than 10 years.
She said: "I had retired, and it was time to pay the hospice back.
"I love it. I can't not do something, so it's helped keep me on my toes during retirement."
Saint Francis Hospice charity's stores are always looking for volunteers.
Even one hour of your time a week would be greatly appreciated by the hospice's patients, who benefit from every item sold.
If you'd like to find out more, visitsfh.org.uk/volunteering, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 01708 758614, or pop into one of the hospice's shops across east London.