Havering volunteer: ‘When I’m at the hospice it feels like I’m near Fred’

Hospice volunteer Ellen Hampshire

Hospice volunteer Ellen Hampshire - Credit: Archant

»A local woman said after the death of her partner she turned to the hospice that helped care for him so that she could help others.

Fred Shipton and Ellen Hampshire

Fred Shipton and Ellen Hampshire - Credit: Archant

Ellen Hampshire, 64, who volunteers for St Francis Hospice, is now appealing to others to follow in her footsteps and to volunteer to help others going through the same situation they went through.

Ellen’s partner Fred Shipton died at St Francis Hospice on April 10, 2009, from cancer, which had started in his kidneys and spread to his lungs and brain. He was 64.

Fred and Ellen realised he was sick after he quit smoking in January 2008. He soon became ill and was diagnosed with cancer. Fred was admitted to the hospice in February 2009, but he could not be saved.

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Ellen, of Myrtle Road, Harold Hill, said: “The doctors gave him everything they could. The cancer spread all over his body and there was nothing else they could do.”

The couple had been together for 21 years and planned to marry. But by the time Fred was taken into the hospice in Broxhill Road, Havering-atte-Bower, he was too ill.

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Ellen said: “He was such a well-liked man. Anyone who knew him loved him. And he did so much for others.”

She added: “He was a locksmith, and I would help him with his paperwork. We would do everything together. We were like a team.”

She now helps with the service user group, which is a forum for volunteers, and friends and families of patients, to share their experience of care at St Francis with hospice staff. She said: “The families come to talk to me and sometimes they have no one else to talk to.

“They can tell us whatever they want to and we just sit and listen; I have been through what they are going through.”

About helping at the hospice, Ellen said: “I love it. I feel like when I am at the hospice I am near to Fred.

“When he was there we would look at the fish. And sometimes I still do that while thinking about him. He would approve of me helping the hospice, because they did so much for him.”

Gill Wendelken, the hospice’s voluntary services manager, said: “St Francis Hospice couldn’t operate without the time given so generously by our team of some 800 volunteers. They save us around £2million a year in staff costs and contribute so much to the life of the hospice.”

n To find out more visit www.sfh.org.uk or call Gil Wendelken on 01708 758614.

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