Betty and her husband, Tony have volunteered for Blythe House since 2009, after they relocated to the High Peak from Peterborough.
The couple had heard lots about Blythe House during many years holidaying in the area, visiting Tony’s auntie. When they moved here, they knew that they wanted to do something to help.
Betty – who had a career in youth work, community education and adult literacy, including mentoring people learning English as a second language – is also a member of Chapel-en-le-Frith’s Women’s Institute and the town’s Ladies Choir.
She said: ‘I started at Blythe House’s shop in Chapel-en-le-Frith but moved over to Whaley Bridge where I volunteer once a week on a Tuesday. I also help on an ad-hoc basis if there’s any shifts that need covering, and I offer to help out if Anne [Whaley Bridge shop manager], is away on holiday.
‘I work in the sorting room, looking through all of the donations that come through the door. It’s exciting as you never quite know what you’re going to find. I especially enjoy looking through the birc-a-brac as I have a little bit of knowledge of antiques from when I was younger, when I’d look round antique shops with my older brother.
‘The great thing about volunteering here is the camaraderie; I love meeting people, chatting face to face. The friendships made are another good aspect of this role; I have made really good friends here. At the end of our shifts, we try to head out to have lunch together; it is a really nice way to wind down as we’re so busy on our feet throughout the morning.
‘My husband, Tony is a volunteer driver; he picks up and drops off patients who would otherwise struggle to make it to appointments and other services at the hospice. He is also one of the PAT (portable appliance testing) testers for any electrical equipment that is donated to Whaley Bridge shop.
‘A little anecdotal story; Tony and I would regularly walk around the reservoir at Combs and often stop to chat to a lady walking her dog. We later found out that the lady was in fact Revered Betty Packham, who founded Blythe House, so it’s a very small world!
‘If you have just moved into the local area and you’re looking to meet new people and make friends, volunteering for Blythe House is a great way to do so. Getting involved at Blythe House shops has enabled me to enjoy other groups in our community, including the WI. It is a worthy role and I know that I’m giving something back to support a local hospice.’