After the announcement about a second national lockdown on 31.10.2020, some quotes or sentences in Judy’s story below may seem incorrect/ unsuitable, however please note that Judy’s story was written in September 2020, after she had returned to her volunteering role at our Buxton shop following the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Judy Gill started to volunteer at our Buxton charity shop around four years ago, after accessing support from the hospice following her partner, Jeff’s lung cancer diagnosis. The Hospice at Home team provided care to Jeff before he sadly died, and Judy was also able to seek support from our counselling and bereavement team.
Judy, who’s from Buxton, said: ‘I first had dealings with Blythe House when Jeff had lung cancer; their help was invaluable. After he died, I had a few counselling sessions and attended a bereavement class, which was just what I needed at that time. It was a great help in coming to terms with my loss.
‘When I retired, I decided I would like to return their kindness by volunteering at the Buxton charity shop. I contacted Marie, the manager, and soon began my training. I found her very helpful and easy to work with. As I didn’t really want to work with the public after doing it for much of my working life, I elected to work on sorting the numerous donations. It is a mammoth task but almost like Christmas, waiting to see what could be in the bags donated! I always work on a Wednesday afternoon so work with the same great group of volunteers each week. We have plenty of laughs! My neighbour, Alison is a fellow volunteer and we both work together sorting clothing.
‘Being over 70 and at risk, when the shop was preparing to open after COVID restrictions were lifted, I felt quite unsure about returning safely to do my job. However, I need not have worried. I called in to see the safety precautions that had been put in place, and felt quite happy to return safely. A number of volunteers had done a wonderful job in re-arranging the shop to a safe standard. I really enjoy working at the Buxton shop so had missed it during lockdown. It is great to be back!
‘I would encourage anyone who thinks they might like to find out more about becoming a Blythe House retail volunteer, to get in touch for an informal chat. The atmosphere here is easy going and relaxed – and I work with lovely people. I would definitely recommend it to any prospective volunteers who want to give something back to their local community.’