Scott Beswick has supported Blythe House by taking part in fundraising events and initiatives since his mother-in-law, Julie accessed hospice services in 2018 following her breast cancer diagnosis.

The Buxton resident raised over £2,000 for local hospice care when he took on the London Marathon in October 2021.

Scott now supports the charity’s fundraising team by distributing and gathering collection pots in local businesses in his hometown. Local companies that house our collection pots collectively helped us to raise over £10,000 throughout 2021.

Scott explained: ‘I have been a fundraiser for the hospice for several years, and approached the fundraising team to pursue other volunteering opportunities. I wanted to continue supporting Blythe House and this role was perfect for me as it fits around my work and home life.

‘I arrange with the fundraising team to visit a couple of businesses at a time that are logged on a business spreadsheet. I hand over a new, empty collection pot with the date of drop off and the business name listed at the bottom of the pot. I take the full charity pot and I return this to my local Blythe Hospice shop for a member of the fundraising team to collect.

‘I enjoy visiting local businesses and seeing them and their customers support Blythe House.’

Find out how you could volunteer at the hospice alongside your work commitments and family life.

If you’d like to house a collection pot in your local business or organisation, please email: fundraising@blythehouse.co.uk

Sarah Rowland has been a solicitor for 25 years – she specialises in medical law at Irwin Mitchell in Sheffield and became a trustee of Helen’s Trust in 2014.

Sarah explained: ‘I live in a small village near Bakewell, in the Derbyshire Dales.  I got to know Helen’s Trust because it’s a very popular local charity and I started volunteering at the Chatsworth 10k run.  I persuaded a team of people from work to get up very early on a Sunday morning to run the water station, which was part way round the route, and we’ve been volunteering as a team every year since then.  I built up more of a relationship with the Helen’s Trust team, and they asked me to become a trustee in 2014.

‘My trustee role involves input into the charity’s strategy and making sure that our governance is sound. I attend board meetings and trustee strategy days, as well as volunteering at fundraising events and trying to raise the profile of the charity in our local area.  It is really rewarding to be part of a small, local charity because you can see the difference that the team makes to people in our community who need support at a difficult time.  It has also been a great way to introduce my son to volunteering at community events – when he was young he used to say that he worked for Helen’s Trust!

‘Now that Helen’s Trust and Blythe House have come together as one charity, we can do even more great work to support our communities – I’m looking forward to an exciting future ahead!’

Learn more about our range of volunteering opportunities.

Steven Booth has been a dedicated volunteer at Blythe House’s Buxton shop for over a decade. Alongside his volunteer role, Steven has become a Saturday supervisor in a paid position at the shop, supporting the store manager to oversee the day-to-day tasks of running the busy and popular shop on Eagle Parade.

Steven, who was born and bred in Buxton, explains: ‘I left school at 16 and immediately joined the family business W Booth and Sons, a local butcher’s shop. In 1979, aged 18, I developed testicular cancer. In those days, people didn’t talk much about such things and as a result my diagnosis was quite late. After my operation, the staff nurse told me I had to go to The Christie hospital, for further procedures and investigations. I was terrified; there were no counsellors or anyone to answer my questions. I stayed in The Christie for four weeks and had further chemotherapy, which lasted for 18 months.

‘I continued to work alongside my family as much as possible and enjoyed going to the football, cricket and the speedway, and eventually I was given the all clear. In 2002, a blister developed in my mouth; except it was not a blister, it was cancer once more. Three months later the surgeons removed two thirds of my tongue and I endured another course of radiotherapy. I could not work anymore; problems with saliva caused issues working with food at the butcher’s shop. I had trouble eating, and had to have speech therapy to help me communicate. I still have to attend regular check-ups at The Christie today and I am truly grateful for all the help they have given me.

‘Some time later, as I started to recover a little, a lady called Joan who was a regular customer at the butcher’s shop suggested I help out in the Blythe House shop on Buxton marketplace. So I did! That was 10 years ago and I have become very much a part of the shop. I know the names of most of my customers and they know mine. I have customers who visit regularly from Derby and Oldham, plus the numerous tourists who visit throughout the season.

‘I have good friends within the team and it was them who encouraged me to apply for the role of Saturday supervisor. I have never been well enough to work in a fulltime position so at the age of 61 it felt quite daunting at first, but the retail skills I learnt as a young man have served me well within the environment of a charity shop. I understand from my own experiences the importance of the help that Blythe House Hospicecare and Helen’s Trust gives to the community and I enjoy making money to pay for the services it provides.’

Find out more about volunteer roles at our hospice charity shops in Bakewell, Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge.

June Igo has given her valued time to volunteer for Blythe House since 2008, after retiring from her career in teaching.

The New Mills resident explains: ‘When I retired some time ago, I knew I wanted to do something purposeful and meaningful. I didn’t want to do something that would “pass the time”, but something worthwhile. I wanted to support a local charity, so I walked into the Blythe House charity shop in New Mills and offered my services! I had only been there for about two months when the shop in Whaley Bridge opened- so I worked there too. This was different to the New Mills shop as they sell furniture too.

‘I think what is so special about volunteering during your retirement is that you get to try new skills and dabble in different job roles without the pressure you have in a paid job. I’ve always fancied working in a shop. I remember as a child playing shops and I have always loved to browse around charity shops, but now I get to see the whole picture. I get to see the items donated to the shop, who brought those treasured items in and why they want to support this local charity. Like a child wanting to hear new stories – many of our customers and donors like to share their stories and it can be both emotional and amusing to listen to their stories. It is a privilege to hear how the local charity I am volunteering for has supported so many families in the community.

‘This experience has been so rewarding for me. I now divide my time between volunteering at the charity shops and volunteering on the reception desk at the Community Hub. I enjoy being a small part of such a big cause. I feel very passionate about helping the dedicated staff at Blythe House. The staff at the hospice do an amazing job, helping people through some of the most difficult times of their lives with compassion and care.

‘I also work closely with Katie Holt, supporter engagement officer, who processes donations to the hospice. I have learnt so much about the impact donations have on this charity. I can see how valuable donating to Blythe House, whether that is clothing or money, is directly supporting the free local care they provide. I feel very fortunate that I can be a part of this charity and support them during my retirement.’

Find out more about volunteering with Blythe House and Helen’s Trust. 

Today marks one year since we cut the ribbon to our new charity shop in Bakewell located on Matlock Street and with that we have opened the doors to enthusiastic volunteers who support us in raising essential funds for our services.

The popular high street store, alongside our four other stores, are responsible for bringing in over a quarter of the money needed for the charity to provide free care and services to local patients and families.

With new volunteers come new stories and for Bakewell volunteers, Denise and Jane, they found a new friendship. These two lovely volunteers found kindred spirits in one another when they chose to volunteer soon after the shop opening.

Denise and Jane started volunteering together on a Wednesday morning in the shop. It soon became apparent that they had a lot in common. Both retired teachers and both looking for that much needed structure in their day to day lives which their professions had provided.

Denise commented: ‘I am very much a free spirit and have travelled all over the world teaching in multiple countries, but I was reaching a point in my life where I knew I needed to settle and take things a little easier. The pandemic hit and before I knew it my travels came to a grinding halt. I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason and for me this was a chance to take stock and redirect my energy in a different way.

‘I had enquired to volunteer for Helen’s Trust a few years back, but I wasn’t too sure at the time what volunteering role I could commit to. When the Bakewell shop opened I saw it as a sign that I could try again, and this time I found a new passion. I have gained so many skills from working in the shop; from feeling empowered to be creative in my shop displays to learning how to research special donated items that we received in the shop to sell.

‘I thought when my travels stopped that the unique stories and interesting people I got to meet along the way would go amiss. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. My favourite part of volunteering is interacting with the customers. Each and every one of them has a story to tell, and I see the very best in humanity through them.

‘I absolutely love working with Jane who has become a good friend since we started working together. We have so many laughs!’

Jane began her volunteering journey at a similar time to Denise and found that taking herself out of her comfort zone has given her a new purpose in her retirement.

Jane said ‘I’m originally from Liverpool and retired from teaching Spanish and French in July 2020. I live in Bradwell, Hope Valley, with my husband Andrew who retired as a lawyer in the first lockdown of 2020. I started volunteering in May last year. I love retirement, but I also love a little routine in my life. I started volunteering at Bakewell shop on a Wednesday morning, but Denise and I enjoyed working together so much that we decided to extend our day to a full day- we love meeting new people and getting to know our regulars so feel free to pop into the shop and say hello to us!

‘Advice for volunteering would be, go ahead and try it. It is such an enjoyable, worthwhile thing to do. You meet great people, and the rewarding feeling of supporting a local charity like Helen’s Trust can feel so impactful to your overall well-being.

‘I have been so impressed with how the shop and charity is regarded among the general public. They love the premises, and have great respect for the work that takes place. They support the charity with enthusiasm, and that rubs off on the people who work there, who I hope reflect that enthusiasm and commitment.

‘Denise and I have great fun on Wednesdays, we both look forward to it, and have forged a real friendship. It’s great to feel I’m helping in some way, it’s important to look out beyond yourself and what can easily become a “cosy” existence in retirement.’

Find out more about volunteering in our hospice shops in Bakewell, Buxton, Chapel-en-le-Frith, New Mills and Whaley Bridge.

Karma Francomb has been volunteering in the Whaley Bridge hospice shop since November 2011, five months after she arrived in England from Bhutan. She was born and brought up in Bhutan, a Himalaya Kingdom sandwiched between India and China. After meeting her husband, she moved to England in 2011.

Karma said, “When I arrived in England. I didn’t know anyone except my husband’s family. One day I was walking back home from the gym and spotted an ad in the Whaley Bridge shop ‘Volunteer Wanted.’ I called in and met the shop manger Marie. She gave me a form to fill in and I started a few weeks later. The first two volunteers I met were Betty Moll and Adrienne Hesford. I found lifelong friends in them. Then I met Niamh, Margarete and Jane, and we became a part of Tuesday lunch ladies. We go to a local café after work for a bite to eat and natter. Unfortunately, Covid put an end to our lunches, but we still enjoy working together, and we work great as a team.

‘I like volunteering as it is all part of supporting your local community. I enjoy sorting stock, and steaming clothes, which I used to do quite a lot in my earlier days of volunteering. Now I spend most of my time upstairs in the ladies’ department pricing, attending to the customers, and arranging displays.’

‘I wanted to get a message across to all the young people that volunteering is not just for retired people. There is no age limit for volunteering. I can safely say that after volunteering in the Hospice shop, I went on to get a job in a charity shop as an assistant manager. You can volunteer and learn new skills whilst supporting your local charity.’

‘Interacting with volunteers and customers in the shop has enhanced my language skills. To prove that, I went on to write my first book, Kadrinchay (Thank You) – it is my memoir of my life in Bhutan.’

‘I’d like to add, volunteering is not just for English. I encourage all the Non-Native speakers to volunteer too. There is no better way to learn about the English culture and improve your language skills, than volunteering. Lastly, but not least, I would like to thank Blythe House Hospice for giving me this opportunity to be part of your team and letting me share my experience with you.’

Can you spare 4 hours of your time? We’d be delighted to hear from you! Please email: volunteering@blythehouse.co.uk.

Iain Klieve is a professional photographer and videographer, working across the North West to shoot short video films and high-end photography for businesses selling a service or products.

Iain has supported Blythe House since 2019, when he popped his business card in at reception to offer support in a voluntary capacity alongside his full-time work. Since then, Iain has taken professional photographs of hospice services and events; and directed videos for events, appeals and fundraising.

The Chapel-en-le-Frith resident explains more: ‘It’s a bit of a ‘back stage’ role; as a teenager and young adult I worked behind the scenes at a local amateur theatre company, I always saw myself as working back stage…definitively not on stage.

‘I started volunteering for Blythe House to save the hospice some money that they would otherwise need to spend on photography or video services to help fundraise or raise awareness of its work. Having a professional on hand to help can only help produce better content for social media.

‘I like working with Janet [Dunphy, hospice CEO] and her team; you never know when you need this sort of help and support! The hospice has helped me hone my video and filming skills; I need to keep being self-critical about my work…in fact even to the point of kicking myself when I am not happy with my work. I am really looking forward to getting out at events again soon when we are over this pandemic.

‘As time has gone on it’s a real pleasure to be involved. I know it is helping the team, providing consistent help long term so Blythe House and Helen’s Trust can achieve their goals.’

Could your professional skills help to support local hospice care? If you can offer your time and services in any field, we’d be delighted to hear from you! Please email: volunteering@blythehouse.co.uk.

Dr Graham Brodie began volunteering his time to support Blythe House after retiring in 2010, following his role as a GP in Chapel-en-le-Frith for 30 years. His wife, Sonia, joined the volunteer team following her retirement from nursing in 2013. The couple, from Chapel-en-le-Frith, explain more about their roles…

Graham says: ‘It was great at first to enjoy walking and gardening any time I wanted, and not to have long surgeries and endless paperwork, but then I felt something was missing. I missed helping people and the fulfilment it brings, so I asked Blythe House if I could be a volunteer driver.

‘My role as a driver, under normal circumstances, involves collecting patients from their homes in the morning and taking them to Blythe House for day care, then collecting them from the hospice in the afternoon to return them home. We have some lovely chats en route and they are always very grateful. It gives me a warm feeling the fulfilment that was missing.

‘Blythe House staff are very friendly and supportive, offering regular training sessions where you can meet other volunteers, who come from all walks of life.

‘During lockdown, the role has been limited but we have been able to take vulnerable or elderly local people to clinics, and some volunteers have been helping with food shopping and getting prescriptions.

‘There are many different volunteer roles at Blythe House or their charity shops, and I would recommend considering this if you feel you have some free time and you’re looking for something to do to help others, especially if you feel something is missing!’

Sonia explained: ‘I have been a volunteer driver for Blythe House since I retired from district and practice nursing. I always felt I would do some volunteering for Blythe House in some form. I was very familiar with the valuable service they provided for the care of several of my patients. I also was indebted to the service of a bereavement counsellor after the death of my younger brother to cancer at the age of 43.

‘Graham had been driving since his retirement for three years previously and on some occasions he wasn’t able to drive and we felt I could help out too, to provide a more consistent availability. I have been the only female volunteer driver for the hospice prior to lockdown.

‘This became a regular twice weekly commitment and sometimes we shared the driving depending on the patient. I was happy to chat to women or gentlemen in the car whilst Graham drove, or vice versa. Sometimes, the two of us were able to assist the patients into the hospice, car and back into their homes.

‘I felt my previous career was helpful as I understood people’s personal needs, confidentiality and physical abilities. I could also ensure they had all the necessary aids and medication to allow them to enjoy and participate in the day care, for example hearing or walking aids, glasses and knitting needles.

‘I enjoyed being in contact with patients again, and although I could not give them professional advice, I could help them access the way to get help.

‘It was also nice to chat about day to day news; shopping and families, without any pressure to be back in professional work mode. The patients and their relatives have always been very grateful; it is a pleasure to help in a small way.

‘We always tried to give our monthly availability so that the nurses could call on us and ensure we were familiar with the patients and areas. It allowed us to go away on holiday without worry of the nurses trying to call us for a driver. You can also claim your mileage for driving, which is done through the hospice.

‘During lockdown, all has changed when day-care ceased due to COVID-19. We have volunteered to drive and take patients and other local people to appointments. It was good to be of use to the community during this difficult time and although I have not done any regular volunteering, I hope to be able to continue driving as before when the hospice is allowed to open up its excellent service again.’

Find out more about volunteering at Blythe House

Jon Davey has supported Blythe House as a community volunteer since 2019. The Buxton resident explains more about his important role during the COVID-19 pandemic…

‘I have been supporting local patients and elderly, isolated and vulnerable members of the community since the beginning of the first lockdown back in March 2020. Some tasks I regularly undertake include visiting local residents for a socially-distanced chat (when restrictions allowed) to give their partners and carers a bit of free time; provided weekly telephone support to different male patients; and transported two people to important medical appointments at The Christie hospital, and for blood tests in New Mills.

‘I have also walked Stanley, the dog of someone who was shielding, once or twice a week. He was a real character – the first walk we took, I thought he might enjoy himself, but it became clear after just a couple of forays that he had his own very clear ideas on where he wanted to go: anywhere that did not involve too much effort. Any attempt on my part to encourage things in a particular direction was firmly not complied with – he was so determined not to move sometimes that his lead could slip over his head as he dug his feet in…so in the end I gave up and let him take the lead – all for a quiet life!

‘The thing I have enjoyed most about volunteering during COVID-19 has been being useful, and meeting people and getting to know them. The support is so very much appreciated by individuals and their carers. Having a laugh with people is very much part of this experience for me.

‘If you want to really feel part of the community and feel useful, this role really is the thing for you.’

Find out more about becoming a community volunteer.

Whilst setting up a small gardening business, Cate Lines decided to donate some spare time to helping others by becoming a Blythe House community volunteer in autumn 2019.

She’s supported the hospice volunteer team during the COVID-19 pandemic, and appeared on BBC East Midlands Today in late 2020 to chat about her experience. Here, the Little Hayfield resident explains more:

‘I was inspired to apply for a role as a community volunteer by a friend and fellow volunteer who told me to give it a go. My first volunteer job was in the December 2019. I wrapped up some Christmas presents for a patient, and kept the patient company whilst her husband got on with some jobs outside.

‘During the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve be able to help the local community in quite a few different ways, such as shopping, prescription collecting and delivering, and transporting patients to hospital appointments. It has been enjoyable driving to places that you wouldn’t normally go; up long country lanes to deliver shopping, and chatting to very grateful recipients.

‘One particular job was to collect some ‘hearts’ from a butchers shop, for some dogs. I braced myself to be greeted by some huge great muscly hounds, only to find a couple of fluffy lap dogs! I did learn an interesting fact from the butcher, that cooked hearts taste remarkably like roast beef!

‘It has been good to be able to give something back to society in a caring capacity. Not only has the role improved my confidence, it has enabled me to meet new people and learn new skills. The people I meet are always so appreciative of the help I can give them, which makes me realise how important the work is. I would recommend to anyone who’s thinking about volunteering to give it a go, it’s good to push yourself and you’ll be surprised how much you’ll get back.’

Find out more about volunteering for Blythe House and Helen’s Trust.