Volunteer bids farewell to hospice after 21 years of service

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    NLH Admin
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    North London Hospice

A volunteer who has welcomed thousands of patients and families through the doors of a hospice has retired after 21 years of service. Staff and volunteers gathered on Thursday to thank reception helper Margaret Wales for giving more than two decades of her time to the North London Hospice in Woodside Avenue. Margaret, of High Road, in Whetstone said she felt privileged to have played her part in such a ‘compassionate and kind’ organisation. Margaret, a retired primary schoolteacher, said: “The Hospice has given me so much fulfilment. I have been lucky to work alongside the most superb team of staff and volunteers and I can’t express how much it means to have been part of such a special team. North London Hospice really is like one big family. “I feel privileged to have played my small part in a place full of compassion, kindness and commitment.” Margaret started volunteering with the Hospice back in 1994, just two years after the building had opened, after she had experienced first hand hospice care during her aunt’s illness. “The staff were so kind and attentive. The nurses are all a certain breed and have the most caring temperament. They were so welcoming and put everyone at ease. I felt I had to give something back to the Hospice movement. After 21 years, I feel I have done my best to contribute as much as I can.” She initially helped on the inpatient unit and then trained as a bereavement support volunteer, visiting relatives in their own homes before becoming a friendly and familiar face on the reception desk. Throughout the years, the grandmother of six has also baked hundreds of cakes for events to help raise funds for the Hospice that supports those with a life-limiting illness. Margaret has dedicated her life to caring and giving back to her local community having previously delivered Meals on Wheels for the Women’s Royal Voluntary service and also visited the elderly for the Old People’s Welfare. She also helped to raise money to build the Ann Owens care home in East Finchley. Fellow volunteer Kate Cussins, who has worked alongside Margaret on the reception desk at the Hospice for the last 13 years said she will be greatly missed. Kate said: “Working at the Hospice is very special and it’s been wonderful to have volunteered alongside Margaret. We have become great friends. We have shared good and difficult times together. She will be missed by all.” Pam McClinton, chief executive at North London Hospice, said: “Volunteering defines the Hospice and it’s through our volunteers that we are able to deliver the care that makes such a difference to so many when time is precious. “We are very fortunate and privileged to have had Margaret’s support and friendship for all these years. She has touched all those around her with her warm personality. Visitors and staff coming through our doors have always been met by Margaret’s welcoming smile. She really has been an amazing part of the front of house team. We wish her all the best.”        

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