Saint Francis Hospice in desperate need of volunteer drivers

PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 November 2019

Saint Francis Hospice volunteer driver Tony Hatch. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice

Saint Francis Hospice volunteer driver Tony Hatch. Picture: Saint Francis Hospice


Saint Francis Hospice is issuing an urgent appeal for volunteer drivers to help transport people living with life-limiting illnesses.

As the temperatures dip the Havering-atte-Bower hospice, which celebrated its 35th anniversary this year, needs more volunteer drivers like Tony Hatch.

When Tony retired from his business selling tea and coffee, he decided that he was still young enough to give something to people who need it the most so he chose to become a volunteer driver at Saint Francis Hospice.

He said: "It's the best feeling in the world, I get so much satisfaction and pleasure out of it."

Tony isn't the only one who derives so much joy from him being behind the wheel.

He particularly looks forward to the look on a patient's face when they are waiting for him on their doorstep.

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"Sometimes, I'm the first person they have spoken to face-to-face since the last time I picked them up," he said.

Tony admitted that patients are often nervous and scared on their first trip to Saint Francis Hospice for social gatherings but his jokes and good humour lift up their spiritis.

The hospice is in desperate need of volunteer drivers to help combat loneliness and isolation among people living with life-limiting illnesses in the local boroughs.

Volunteer drivers have their petrol costs covered and save patients from the daunting tasks of driving or getting public transport, which is near-impossible for many, and impossible for most, particularly in the winter months.

Tony said: "It's not a total commitment every week, the hospice knows you have other commitments, and works around those."

The charity, made up of a team of specialist consultants, doctors, nurses and a range of other health and social care professionals, provides care and support to individuals with a life-limiting illness, as well as their carers and family members.

It offers care and support to people in Havering, Barking and Dagenham, Redbridge and Brentwood.

If you'd like to find out more about becoming a volunteer driver, the hospice would love to hear from you on 01708 758614.

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