Saturday, 17 April 2010

The Lucky Flower Lady

They call me The Lucky Flower Lady at St Cuthbert's Hospice where I help sometimes on a Tuesday morning. I am one of 360 volunteers who help at the hospice. I do this through an organisation I belong to which is called Soroptimists International. I joined the Durham branch about eighteen months ago.
 The soroptimists do charity work,local, national and international and they are pledged to advance the status of women, keep high ethical standards, try to achieve human rights for all and work for equality, development and peace through International goodwill and understanding and fellowship.  It's what they call a big ask.  We do what we can and one of our local efforts is to go and help in the coffee shop at St Cuthbert's Hospice.
Most weeks Marks and Spencer's at the Arnison Centre donate the flowers which they have left over. Sometimes they don't have any flowers and there are none to brighten the hospice but for some reason almost every time I go up there to collect them there are some. Sometimes my little car is filled with them and even when the folks at M&S say 'oh, there's only a few' or 'there's only one bucketful' it is surprising how many they put into my car and I drive across town and into the winding road which leads up to the hospice and carry them into reception.

You wouldn't believe the difference it makes. This week they thought they didn't  have many but I managed to fill the rooms with roses and daffodils, the cafe had daffodils on every table.If they don't have many in the summer I trot outside, sometimes in the rain and beg the gardeners for anything they might have but I'm not good at arranging flowers so when they come from M&S all you have to do is find the right sized vase and fill it with water and dash about taking them into the various rooms.

The first picture is a general view of the coffee shop.

In the second picture is Alwyn Pope, a soroptimist and helping her is Sandra Lawrence, friend of Barbara Hadfield who is a soroptimist.

You can see how lovely the cafe is, it serves sandwiches and cakes and pastries and is open to the public and it sells wonderful cards and jewellery and all manner of gifts and I like being there, everybody is open and friendly and it lifts my mood when I go there.  I also help in the cafe with Cheryl Penna who is president of Durham S.I. Cheryl is an expert with the till whereas I am always getting in a ravel with it. We wear black pinnies and serve toasties and baked potatoes.

The volunteers do all kinds of things at the hospice including gardening and DIY, reception and patient care and I once got to help in the kitchen where I found my forte in life - threading fruit on to skewers for a special event. I did feel clever!

St Cuthbert's Hospice provides care and support for people with life limiting conditions as well as their families and carers.  It makes no charge for its services so that it can help all those who need hospice care in North Durham. It receives a minority of its funding from the NHS and relies upon the local community to raise a further £1 million a year ( or £4,000 every day ) that is needed to carry on its work.    0191 386 1170

Audrey Dowgray and Rachel Eddy

1 comment:

  1. That's lovely. I have a lump in my throat now.