Meet Our Volunteers

Madeline Fraser - Retail Volunteer

Madeline Fraser is one of our very first retail volunteers and has volunteered at our Crosby shop for 17 years. She was a class teacher at St. Hugh’s Primary School in Edge Hill for over 30 years and, after she retired in 2005, started volunteering in 2006 and hasn’t looked back.

Madeline said: “I originally worked in the hospice’s first charity shop which was on Victoria Road in Crosby. I really enjoy volunteering. It is a very varied and flexible role and you can do whatever you like best. I prefer to work at the counter but others like to sort clothes at the back of the shop.

“We have a large team of volunteers here and I have made a lot of very close friends. We all socialise together and I have even been on holiday with a couple of friends from the shop. I would highly recommend volunteering to anyone.”

Kathy Halter - Volunteer Befriender

Kathy is a community musician and works with older people in care homes who have dementia or challenges that are more physical. She was looking for an opportunity to volunteer and use her skills to help our patients at the end of life. She discovered the hospice through an internet search and got straight in touch.

“Music has the power to soothe, comfort and provide an escape for people, especially at the end of life. As a befriender, I am there to support patients at their bedside by listening, talking or reading to them but some people don’t want to talk and music can have huge benefit so I am looking forward to being able to offer this experience to them.”

Imogen - Retail Volunteer

Imogen is one of our youngest volunteers. After finishing her GCSE’s, she wanted to get some work experience. She knew about the hospice from her RE lessons at school and, when out walking her dog one day, she passed the hospice and saw a sign asking for volunteers.

“I volunteer in one of the hospice’s charity shop and it’s really good. I go there once or twice a week and I help sorting donations and working on the till. It is a fun thing to do over the summer. I have met some lovely people and it has really boosted my confidence. I am starting my A-Levels in September but hope to carry on volunteering when I can.”

Rachael Dobbin - Ward Assistant

Rachael is 21 years old and has recently graduated from Liverpool John Moores University with a first class BSc (Hons) degree in Psychology. During her final year, she completed a work based learning module at the hospice, which she really enjoyed and found to be an incredibly valuable experience. Rachael decided to stay on as a volunteer ward assistant to gain more experience for her future career in health psychology.

“I love spending time at the hospice; it gives me a real sense of purpose. It has been the first clinical environment I have worked in and has been very rewarding. It has allowed me to develop my skills and grow personally too. I really enjoy having a good chat with the patients and getting to know them and the staff are all lovely. I definitely feel part of the hospice community.”

Susan Allan - Volunteer Receptionist

Susan applied to become a volunteer after seeing an article in this very magazine at the beginning of the year. She had previously worked as a council administrator for over 25 years and retired in 2017. She had always intended to volunteer but was unsure about what or where.

“I had some anxieties about applying but Siobhan allayed my fears and I felt that this was the position for me. My first session went well and, most importantly, I was able to answer and transfer telephone calls, which was something I had been dreading. I now feel more confident in the role. Everyone is very friendly and offer support when needed.

“From a personal perspective, I now look forward to Mondays. With people to talk to and assist, I feel useful and valued again. Now that I have found my feet, and I am enjoying myself, I am planning to volunteer for a second session each week.”

Neil - Patient Befriender Volunteer

Our patient befrienders have a really important role, helping to provide emotional support and companionship to our patients.
Neil started volunteering at the hospice in 2016 after his mum was cared for here.
"I wanted to give something back as a thank you for everything the hospice did for me and my mum. I spent over a year volunteering in the kitchen before taking on a new role as a patient befriender which I absolutely love.
"I really missed coming to the hospice during the Covid lockdown. It hit me really badly which shows just how much it means to me. But, after 18 long months, I am finally back.
"There are lots of new faces here, both patients and staff, and I was a bit nervous starting again but I love sitting with patients, listening to their stories and, for those that are able, taking them out for walks in the grounds.
"I would highly recommend being a befriender to anyone with a few hours to spare, you really get as much out of it as you put in."

Dianne - Ward Clerk Volunteer

Our volunteer ward clerks provide administrative support to our nurses and clinical team on the wards.
This is a new role but a very valuable one as it frees up our nurses from admin duties so that they can spend more time caring for their patients, time that is hugely precious and valued by our patients and their families.
"In 2020, at 66, I had the tough decision of whether to carry on nursing or to retire. I loved being part of the hospice family but back problems were making my role difficult. In the end, I decided to retire fully and increase my volunteer work.
"Before I left, I spotted an advert for a volunteer receptionist at the hospice which I thought would maintain my roots here so I applied and was successful. It was the perfect solution. Although I was sad that I had left my nursing role, I was so honoured to finish my nursing career at the hospice doing what I had loved for 49 years.
"After a break from volunteering during the most recent lockdown, I was contacted by the volunteer coordinator and offered a new ward clerk role which was right up my street as I would be back on the wards supporting my old colleagues.
"Because I am a retired nurse, I fully understand and respect the boundaries between the ward clerk and the nursing team but I can still play a role in the patient journey without having the patient contact that I used to when I was a nurse. I am really enjoying my new role and am so pleased to remain a member of the hospice family."

Lydia - Ward Clerk Volunteer

"It’s a lovely role supporting the nurses and clinical teams with administrative duties. It is so wonderful to be able to contribute to the fantastic service being provided by St. Joseph’s Hospice and I am delighted to be back here in my ward clerk role following the lockdown when we were unable to come in to the hospice and help."

Joan - Ward Clerk Volunteer

"A few years ago a friend told me that the hospice was looking for volunteers to become ward clerks. After an initial chat with the volunteer manager and a short induction, I started to work for four hours a week in the St Francis House unit. It didn’t take long to settle in and to feel part of the hospice team. During lockdown, volunteering on the wards was suspended so I was pleased to return as soon as lockdown was eased. It was lovely to see everyone again."

Eileen - Admin and Reception Volunteer

Eileen supports the hospice in lots of different ways. She provides admin support on a Wednesday morning and helps as a volunteer receptionist on a Saturday. She has also worked in one of our charity shops.
"I have had the opportunity to volunteer in various roles for St Josephs Hospice. I thoroughly enjoyed working in the shop as I gained experience of till work, display and pricing of items and met lots of lovely people, customers and staff. I currently help out in the office doing admin on a Wednesday morning. I really enjoy helping in the office and there is always plenty of work to keep me busy. On a Saturday I put my receptionist head on and welcome visitors and take phone calls. The setting is very tranquil and I get chance to watch squirrels and experience the colours of the changing seasons whilst doing my volunteering."

Janet - Administration Volunteer

"When I retired in August 2020, I knew that I wanted to give some of my time to volunteering but wasn't sure in which area, especially as we were still in the throes of a pandemic. When I saw that St Joseph's Hospice was looking to recruit a team of receptionists, I knew that I had found what I had been looking for.


"Working on reception was a great way to meet people, use my existing skills and develop new ones, including transferring calls without cutting the caller off!! Whilst on reception, I met some interesting people and dealt with a range of issues. Each session was a learning curve and it was so rewarding to use my newly gained knowledge to support the families of patients with a smile, a chat and an answer to some of their questions.


"This volunteering role gave me the confidence to develop my role within St Joseph's Hospice further so I applied for a volunteer role as a patient befriender. I am so grateful that I was accepted and enjoyed this new role for a number of months. It was an honour to meet some of the patients and be able to build a relationship with them by chatting and providing a listening ear. It also gave me the opportunity to get to know more of the amazing staff.


"Alongside this role, I was also helping out in the hospice admin office with the programme of Covid testing. This eventually led to me moving across to support the admin staff in facilities and HR. This also provided me with the chance to help with a range of fundraising activities. I really look forward to my two sessions a week and have been welcomed as part of this wonderful team.


"I feel proud and honoured to be part of the St Joseph's Hospice volunteer team and I would encourage anyone who is thinking of volunteering to phone our Volunteer Co-ordinator and have a chat about it. There are so many different roles that provide the opportunity to really make a difference."

Rob - Volunteer Gardener

Rob has been a volunteer gardener at the hospice since 2009.

Tell us about your role?

It is a lovely place to work with a mixture of formal gardens set in a woodland setting. It mainly involves tidying the site, mowing lawns, tending to the borders and drinking coffee.

Why did you decide to volunteer for the hospice?

After working continually for 45 years, I retired aged 60 and really enjoyed doing all the usual activities of holidaying, diy, grandparent duties, walking and hanging round garden centres and shopping complexes.

Eventually, I realised that I still had plenty of spare time and decided to do some voluntary work and, as I always considered gardening to be a pleasure and not a chore, I noted that St Joseph’s Hospice didn’t employ anyone to look after the gardens so here I am in what I consider to be my outside gym.

What do you most enjoy about your volunteer role?

It’s nice to have the interaction with other volunteers and full time staff and it’s particularly gratifying when residents and their visitors express their thanks for our efforts.

To sum it up, what could be better than working outside in the fresh air, in amongst nature and keeping fit at the same time? Plus, it only takes a few hours per week.