'I absolutely love it' - Jane clocks up 29 years as Lincolnshire's longest-serving hospital volunteer

As she approaches a major milestone in her contributions, Lincolnshire’s longest-serving hospital volunteer has spoken of how much she values the work.
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Last month, Jane Parker, 79, completed her 29th year of volunteering with the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, having started in February 1995.

Jane, who lives in the Spilsby area, is based at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.

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She started volunteering after taking early retirement from the teaching profession on health grounds. It was as she was making her way out of the hospital, following these discussions, that the idea came to her. She remembers seeing the ‘friendly face’ of a volunteer and felt drawn to such a role.

ULHT volunteer of 29 years Jane Parker, 79, from the Spilsby area.ULHT volunteer of 29 years Jane Parker, 79, from the Spilsby area.
ULHT volunteer of 29 years Jane Parker, 79, from the Spilsby area.

“She was lovely. She said ‘can I help?’, I said ‘I would like to volunteer’,” said Jane.

“You felt immediately you were going to be valued and looked after,” she said.

Over the years, Jane has supported the trust in a range of settings. Throughout the 29 years, though, she has acted as a meet and greet volunteer, guiding patients and visitors to where they need to go on arrival.

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She explained that because people are often anxious at this time, with their mind focused on their reason for being at the hospital, some show great appreciation for the welcome they receive and the help offered.

“They come back and stop and say ‘thank you so much for what you have done’ and all you have done is point them towards where they needed to go and you think ‘bless your heart’.

“I absolutely love it,” she said of the role. “I was made to do this job. It’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”

She encouraged others to become a volunteer, too, though with one caveat.

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“You do it for yourself, but not only for yourself,” she said. “If I did it only for myself, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it half as much as I do.”

ULHT voluntary services manager, Andy Tysoe, said: “Jane will have helped thousands and thousands of people during her time volunteering. She is an inspiration to us all and we are so grateful that she continues to dedicate her time to helping others.”

To find out more about volunteering for ULHT, email [email protected] or visit www.ulh.nhs.uk/jobs/working-for-us/volunteering