Mike and Helen's story

I’ve been married to Helen for 53 years now and during our marriage we mainly had separate interests. I love my motorbikes and military aircraft and Helen loves her sport, particularly the Sussex game of Stoolball. We always promised each other that when we retired we would do something together, so now in our 53rd year of marriage, we have spent the last four years doing just that by volunteering together at the St Wilfrid’s. Twenty eight years ago I actually worked for the firm that built the Hospice, and since then a few of my close friends have been cared for by them.

Helen and I work every Thursday morning as Ward Volunteers, ensuring the kitchen area is always clean, tidy and well stocked. We make sure patients and their visitors have everything they need. It’s an important date in our week, so much so that we plan our holidays around Thursdays making sure that day always remains free! We've only missed three Thursdays in four years due to health reasons.

We also run regular Hospice Evenings in our garden in Bosham which has a ‘pub shed’ where we host visitors for Ploughman’s or curry nights, in return for a donation to the Hospice. I even braved a tandem parachute jump last year, raising £1400 in the process.

We were determined that when we volunteered it would be for the long term – now we can’t keep away! We really look forward to our visits and when we come away we feel a great deal of satisfaction, knowing we have done something good, however small. As they say, ‘every little helps’. We find it very humbling being with patients’ families as part of the team here at the Hospice. It truly feels like a family here, involving everyone in the team providing such exceptional care.

Mike Jelley
Hospice Volunteer