Stalwart volunteers Tony and Jane Reynolds say they “care deeply” about doing their bit to support East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
As former primary school teachers, they dedicated their working lives to helping and supporting young people.
Now, in retirement, they continue doing what they can by being loyal and dedicated EACH volunteers.
The pair, from Hemingford Grey, near St Ives, in Cambridgeshire, recently received ten-year service awards from the charity and have already signed up to help at September’s Huntingdon Splash Out!
They are passionate about what they do and their interview is being released to coincide with a special week-long campaign, encouraging more people to lend their support at this summer’s fundraising events.
“I’m surprised ten years have slipped by but certainly feel proud and honoured to have received an award,” said Tony, 73.
“We love keeping busy and enjoy our work with EACH.
“We first got involved after spotting an advert in the Hunts Post, about a Friends of EACH group.
“We went along to a meeting, met some others and were given a tour of the hospice at Milton.
“We couldn’t fail to be both impressed and affected and, from that moment, were determined to do whatever we could to help.
“We like getting involved at big events, doing something like marshalling, but also enjoy helping at the smaller, community village ones.
“We’ll do anything from running stalls and selling raffle tickets to collecting prizes and helping with bucket collections.”
Tony and Jane have a personal connection with EACH.
A friend of their son had serious health complications and received care at Milton.
In addition, granddaughter Millie, a twin, sadly died within hours of being born, in 2003.
“Although she didn’t actually use EACH services, it’s impossible not to feel a connection when something like that happens,” said Tony, who, like his wife, retired from teaching in 2008. In addition to volunteering, the pair are also keen golfers who enjoy walking and gardening.
“As much as anything, we feel proud to spread the word when we talk about the charity.
“People come and chat to us and it’s amazing how many people have a connection.
“I remember a young lad coming up to us once and telling us his sister had received care at Milton. His whole family were then supported when she sadly passed away.
“He thanked us for what we were doing and it was impossible not to be deeply affected and inspired by his words.
“It’s something we both feel passionate about.
“We wanted to do something useful and obviously we feel a connection with children and young people, because of what we did in our working lives.
“We like to help and care very deeply.”
Jane is in agreement and would recommend volunteering to others.
“It’s so uplifting and can be very varied, which is something I’d say to anyone interested in getting involved,” said the 71-year-old, who has seven grandchildren.
“There are so many things you can help with, to suit your interests and availability.
“It’s a great charity to support and the hospice is such a happy, positive place, contrary to what people probably think and expect. It gives families relief and respite at an impossibly sad and complex time in their lives.
“I enjoy volunteering and it’s lovely feeling you’re doing something useful and worthwhile, to support such a special charity.
“It gives me a sense of purpose and I’d recommend it to anyone, without hesitation.”
EACH is planning a packed and varied schedule of fundraising events this year, with highlights being the Ride for Life cycle challenge (6th to 8th May), which passes through Cambridgeshire, the Bury St Edmunds Splash Out! on 15th May and the Huntingdon Splash Out! on 17th September.
To find out more and register your interest in volunteering, head to www.each.org.uk/eventsvolunteer