Barbara, Indoor Plants

I've been volunteering at Willow Wood since the day it opened, that’s 20 years now. At the beginning, I worked in the Day Hospice where I served the patients tea, coffee and cakes, made them toast and took their lunch orders. However, a large part of my volunteering role was to spend time with them, having a chat and a laugh. I always say they weren’t friends when they came, but they certainly were when they left.

As time went on, I took it upon myself to look after the plants as well. I’ve always loved gardening, so it just seemed a natural thing for me to do, watering, repotting and pruning them. However, I still enjoy talking to the patients, it’s part of the job to me.

When I started back in 1999, my husband Cyril joined as a volunteer too. Sadly, he’s no longer with us, but he volunteered for many years as a patient driver. He’d pick people up from their homes, bring them to Day Hospice and then, if there were no other little jobs for him, he’d go away returning at 3pm to take them home. I’d go then too, sitting in the back, and I always remember one lady who said her husband had never held her hand or kissed her. Cyril was such a gentleman; he’d hold her hand as he walked her to her door where she’d kiss him and give me a wink!

In 2015 I had a hip operation and now need a walker to help me get around. I can’t carry a tray of drinks anymore, but I still do the flowers and still love coming to Willow Wood to chat to the patients, the staff and the other volunteers.

I had been a member of the Willow Wood Choir, but that got a bit too much for me. They meet for rehearsals on Tuesday evenings and, as that’s when I volunteer, it made it a very long day. However, my nephew sings with them now, so I still feel part of it. In a way, he’s carrying on the family tradition.

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