Volunteering at Pendleside Hospice is something that grows on you – just ask the team of enthusiastic gardeners!
Up to eight people a week give their time to tend to the trees, bushes, lawns, and flower beds around the hospice, and throughout the current pandemic, they have found ways to work safely whilst still ensuring that the gardens are beautifully maintained. This has been even more important than usual to the morale of patients, visitors and staff.
Four of these green fingered geniuses – Peter Booth, Geoff Stubbs, Phil Crooks and Russell Tebbutt – have pulled together as a team working together for a few hours every Tuesday.
And it’s not just on sunny summer days they turn out with their spades, hoes and pruning shears. The volunteer gardeners are as hardy as their hydrangeas working every week of the year.
As Geoff Stubbs said: “There is always something to do in the garden so we must tend to it all year round.”
Geoff, 68, used to run a business in the Burnley area and later became a duty manager at a DIY store and gardening centre.
He said: “I have always loved gardening and spend most days doing something in my own garden at home. So when I retired and was looking around for something to do volunteering looking after the Pendleside gardens was perfect for me.”
Geoff added: “A friend and a friend’s mother passed away at Pendleside and I saw first-hand the care they received. So gardening for Pendleside is just a little bit of something I can do to help.”
Another of the volunteers is retired probation service officer Phil Crooks who started volunteering at Pendleside three years ago.
He said: “We tend to work in the mornings so that if we are using machinery or working close to the inpatient unit it doesn’t disturb eating and visiting times.”
Phil was already connected to Pendleside when he started there. His wife Maggie was a volunteer receptionist.
He said: “By keeping the gardens cared for and in colour it helps patients and their families – and the staff – enjoy their time there. In hospital you tend to see walls and other windows when you look out of a ward. At Pendleside the inpatients have French windows on to private terraces surrounded by flowers and shrubs. Families seem to really appreciate the work we put in and we enjoy doing it.”
The other volunteers are Karen Frankland, Joyce Hargreaves, Michael Eardley and Klaus Lamle who tend to the gardens at different times of day and at the weekends.
Helen McVey, chief executive at Pendleside, said: “The efforts of all of our gardeners are so very much appreciated. We have a lot of garden space and as well as the usual lawns and flower beds there are lots of trees and bushes that need constant attention.
“They have done a fantastic job throughout the present crisis whilst ensuring they meet lockdown arrangements by maintaining social distancing and sending us Whatsapp messages to remind us to water plants!
“Without the volunteers the management of the gardens would cost us a lot of money so we are deeply thankful to them all. Volunteers right across the organisation save us tens of thousands of pounds every year that we can then use to provide patient care free of charge to people in our community.
If you would like to join Pendleside’s team of volunteers at the hospice please complete the volunteer application form on the Pendleside website and send to Julie Hodgkinson either by post or email: [email protected] or telephone01282 440105.