Volunteer celebrates 25 years of helping others through difficult times
PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 May 2020
A volunteer is celebrating a quarter of a century of helping people across North Somerset.
Ruth Johnson is a bereavement volunteer at St Peter’s Hospice who began volunteering after retiring from Southmead Hospital, where she worked as a midwife for 20 years.
She is supporting four relatives over the phone rather than the usual face-to-face due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Ruth, aged 77 of Backwell, is also a volunteer driver, bringing patients from their homes in the morning to day services and then returning them later in the day, but these services are currently closed.
She said: “In normal circumstances I would visit my clients at their homes but obviously that can’t happen now, so my way of working has changed.
“I’ve done many different roles over the past 25 years and each one has had its own challenges, no more so than the situation the world finds itself in at the moment.
“A lot of people are lonely and need someone to talk to, usually we would encourage them to go out into their communities and join clubs and meet people but they can’t go and do that now.”
St Peter’s Hospice cares for adults with life-limiting illnesses and aims to improve the quality of their living and dying, while extending care and support to their families and loved ones.
Ruth is also a fundraising volunteer and helps at lots of events and also volunteers in the coffee shop.
She added: “The hospice gives you a badge for every five years you volunteer, and I remember getting my first one and wondered if I would make it to 10 years, and now I’m working my way towards my 25th.
“I cannot believe where the time has gone but I have met some very special people along the way, you have to be a special person to work there, you have a lot of fun and laughter but it is a sad place.
“I hope to be doing this for as long as I can, I am in a privileged position that I have a car to visit people and can give my time to people who need it.
“We are always needing more volunteers, we are a changing group and I am only one of 30 bereavement visitors volunteering for the hospice.
“Becoming a volunteer was one of the best things I ever did.”
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