It is a bit of a family affair for Alex Clark, her parents, auntie, husband, niece and daughters, who all support Blythe House Hospicecare by giving their time to volunteer in many ways. Alex, who’s from Buxton, explains more…

‘It was back in 2011 when my Mum, Brenda noticed that Blythe House’s Buxton shop was closed on Wednesdays because unfortunately the team just didn’t have enough volunteer capacity to be able to open it. I had recently been made redundant and Mum said to me: “We could do that!” so we got in touch with Blythe House, and offered our support on Wednesdays. We started volunteering in May 2011 doing Wednesday mornings, but then we started to stay all day. Even when more volunteers came on-board, we’d stick around and support them.

‘My auntie, Hilary has volunteered her time at Chapel-en-le-Frith shop since it opened. The three of us have taken a stall to the annual Dickensian Market in Buxton for the last five years and we’ve really enjoyed pulling together knickknacks and gifts from each shop to sell to raise hospice funds. We hosted a stall at Blythe House’s Christmas Fair in 2017, and it was such a success that someone suggested we attend the hospice’s coffee mornings on the third Friday of every month, so in April 2019 we started to come along to those too. The coffee morning stalls have been so popular with guests, and from July to November 2019, we have raised over £922!

‘I love volunteering at the shop and hosting stalls in the local community as it’s so nice to meet and chat to customers. The same people come to see you every week – we get regular customers who like to ask your opinion of what they look like in clothes they’re trying on! We have a regular lady who visits us from Stoke, and another from Glossop.

Alex and her mum Brenda met Matt Baker at Countryfile Live – a day event kindly organised by Smiths of Marple for Blythe House volunteers and staff

‘My Mum has always worked in customer service roles and she loves chatting to people. My Dad, Bob helped to relocate the shop when we moved from the old premises, including painting and decorating, and my husband, Kev is the go-to ‘shop handyman,’ helping to fix things and change light bulbs. My daughters, Lizzie and Lucy, and niece, Annabelle have also supported the shop during their summer holidays from sixth form and university over the years.

‘Volunteering for Blythe House is really good fun and sociable, everyone is so friendly. You can see the results here and you really know that you’re doing something to help. I know several people who’ve benefitted directly from Blythe House; nobody wants to have to access the services here but knowing they are there if they are needed is very comforting and they make a huge difference to so many local people.’