Radio star signs up as hospice ambassador

A BBC Radio Lancashire presenter has signed up as a Pendleside Hospice ambassador after seeing the vital service provided by the charity first hand.

Albia Begum, who co-presents the Friday mid-afternoon show with John ‘Gilly’ Gillmore on BBC Radio Lancashire, first visited Pendleside for its 30th anniversary community day in October last year.

Hosting an outside broadcast from the hospice on the day gave Albia and Gilly the chance to meet patients and staff and find out more about the various services offered free-of-charge to anyone from the local community who needs them.

This ranges from promoting and enhancing quality of life for people with life-limiting illnesses – plus their families and carers – to day services, complementary therapies, inpatients, hospice at home and bereavement support.

Albia got so much from the experience, she immediately expressed an interest in fundraising for the hospice. That was before Helen McVey, Pendleside Hospice’s chief executive, gave her a call to recruit her as an ambassador for the charity.

She said: “It was honestly one of my favourite broadcasts. When I first walked in, I just felt this hugely positive atmosphere, everybody was so happy to be working there. I had a tour of the garden and the main building – I just fell in love with the place.

“I knew very little about Pendleside before I went and I was so inspired to see the remarkable work the staff and volunteers do. I felt a natural connection with everybody there and I was blown away with everything I learnt that day.”

Becoming a Pendleside ambassador means Albia will be representing the hospice alongside former Clarets and current West Brom striker Jay Rodriguez, who signed up in November 2017.

Albia said: “I’m a huge Burnley fan and even though Jay doesn’t play for us anymore, it’s still a privilege to be working alongside one of my favourite players as we raise awareness of the brilliant work being done by the hospice.”

Helen McVey, Pendleside CEO, said: “Seeing the hospice first hand definitely had a profound effect on Albia when she visited with Gilly and it was so nice to get back in touch with her to see if she’d like to become an ambassador. She was keen to get involved in any way possible, which is always music to our ears!”

Following her announcement as an ambassador, Albia will now go through the hospice’s ambassador training programme to bring her up to speed as a charity representative.

Albia said: “I jumped at the opportunity and I can’t wait to get going – I originally wanted to sign up and become a fundraiser so to become an ambassador is just amazing.

“I would love to find a way to get the Queen to Pendleside – that’s my personal challenge! Nothing wrong with dreaming big, is there?!”