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“I heard about Shooting Star when I was volunteering at Princess Alice Hospice. My husband died there over 30 years ago and when I retired in 2000, I went to volunteer in their coffee shop. During this time, everybody in Twickenham was saving money for Shooting Star to build the new children’s hospice in Hampton and posters were everywhere to raise awareness about it.

“I started volunteering with Shooting Star before the Hampton site was built. I was based in the head office, waiting for it to be opened. I also helped with the Shooting Star lottery by standing in a garden centre once a week to sell tickets.

“Since Shooting Star House opened in 2005, I have been volunteering in reception.

“Every Tuesday morning, the Family Support Team tell me who is coming into the hospice. Children arrive for hydrotherapy pool sessions, music therapy, and then there’s counselling too. I open the door to everybody, I get them to sign in and I talk to the families. It’s nice because I find the same children come in on the day that I’m in, so I get to know the families. With the head office based at Shooting Star House now, I also take calls that ring into reception for staff and I also note down who might be visiting.

“I can’t believe it’s been over 19 years of service. Everybody says we are wonderful, but it’s wonderful for us as well. I love working with Amanda and everybody here. It’s an absolute pleasure to volunteer.  

“Shooting Star is a very special place. People might think it’s a very sad place. There are sad moments and sad families, but every family benefits from our care and that is very, very special. It’s like having arms wrapped around you and caring for you and I think that’s where the hospice is very beneficial to every family that comes here.

“To new people, don’t be afraid of what you think it might be because it’s not that; it’s a really special place. If you can give your time, give it. There are so many different volunteer roles; there must be one for you. If you have a skill, they’ll use it.”