Near neighbours from Chiswell Green, Angela Thompson and Penelope Compton, have been raising funds for Rennie Grove Hospice Care for several years, inspired to get involved after Angela’s husband, Bill, was cared for by the charity.
Angela explains that her desire to be a Rennie Grove volunteer is driven by what she describes as “an amazing local charity”.
Bill was supported by a range of the organisation’s services over six years. “From physiotherapy to home care, special cushions and other aids, they were always there and knew what was needed,” says Angela.
“There was the emotional care too. There were times when nurses just took over for me,” she says. The charity’s care meant that Bill got comfort from being at home with Angela, his devoted wife of 42 years, and their dog Holly by his side when his condition deteriorated.
Penelope’s enthusiasm for the cause is infectious too: family members become involved in producing posters, leaflets and flyers; local shopkeepers have offered raffle prizes and scout group colleagues have pitched in to offer a venue free of charge and provide and serve refreshments.
Raising funds has been a great way to carry on meeting new people and making new friends, says the busy mum of three and grandmother, who also works as a childminder.
“Unfortunately, cancer has touched absolutely all of us in some way and volunteering is a way for people who have been affected to come together,” she says. “The nice thing is that when you do things in the community there are an awful lot of people there that you know and are happy to support you.”
She says “you have to be a little bit brave” to approach people and ask for help putting together events such as craft fairs and quiz nights, “but don’t think about it personally. You are asking not for you but for someone else”, she advises, adding: “Try it – it’s addictive!”
Angela agrees: “I get a lot of satisfaction from helping to raise so much money for Rennie Grove - but everything I’ve been involved in has been good fun as well. It’s all just so friendly, and there’s something different every time.”
She urges anyone who is thinking of volunteering for Rennie Grove to give it a try. “Phone up and ask what’s available. Any offer is acceptable, no matter how little time you have available or how much you want to commit. Rennie Grove is happy for you to do whatever suits you.”
The Nurse Assessment Clinic at Grove House, which provides patients with specialist advice, information and support at all stages of their illness and signposting to other services, saw a 38% rise in patient numbers during 2016-17.
Angela and Penelope have three events planned for autumn, all at 1st St Albans Scout Group, Wadley Hut on the Watford Road. They’ve organised a table top sale on Sunday September 17 from 10am till 2pm; a craft fair on Sunday October 8 and a quiz night on Saturday November 18. You can find more on these on our what's on page.
Please keep supporting this service in the heart of your community as increasing numbers of local people need its timely, specialist care and support. You can make a difference by attending one of Angela and Penelope’s forthcoming fundraisers or by signing up as a volunteer yourself. Find out more here