“Hopefully they already know how valued and appreciated they are but this was an opportunity to bring them together and say it with a cake!” – Help at Home volunteers enjoy a surprise thank you event at Milton

Volunteers were hailed for their selflessness, kindness and commitment during a surprise thank you event.

The gathering was for six Help at Home volunteers, who give up their time to support East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH). It was organised by Volunteer Co-ordinator Marie Huggins.

Their role involves supporting families by providing vital practical support with chores like cooking, cleaning, decorating, gardening, dog-walking and DIY.

The volunteers thought they were attending a regular ‘coffee and cake catch-up’ afternoon at EACH’s Milton base.

Instead, they were greeted with banners, balloons, chocolates, a giant ‘thank you’ message and a delicious cake topped with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries.

The volunteers also had the chance to meet members of staff, who popped in to express their gratitude. Among them were Chief Executive Phil Gormley, Director of People Nicky Kendrick and Individual Giving Manager Alec Burns.

They were joined by three members of the Care team – Team Leader Hannah Riley, Care Assistant Anna Pinner and Senior Care Assistant Sandra Holmes – and they brought along a child who was spending the afternoon at Milton.

“We had a fantastic time and it was lovely to arrange an event specifically to thank these brilliant, selfless people,” said Marie.

“They do so much and give up their time to make a genuine difference to the children and families receiving our care and support.

“Hopefully they already know how valued and appreciated they are but this was an opportunity to bring them together and say it with cake!

“They thought they were coming in for one of our regular quarterly get-togethers and when one arrived and saw the bunting and balloons, she asked if we had a special event on. It felt so nice to be able to say ‘yes, you’re the special event’.

“Everyone enjoyed themselves and hopefully left feeling even more positive, motivated and inspired. We really can’t thank them enough for all they do.”

Other members of staff to drop in were Supporter Engagement Officer Claire Smith, Community Fundraiser Helena Davis, Library and Information Services Manager Sue Langley, Housekeeper Lorraine Hill, Housekeeper/Cook Diana Groves, Managed Clinical Network Co-ordinator Carrie Cannon and Lead Administrator Deborah Watts.

The thank-you event took place at Milton last Wednesday (26th July).

“In addition to our volunteers, I’d also like to thank Milton Caretaker Connor Daley, who helped me with the hard-to-reach decorations, and Housekeeper Lorraine Hill for baking the delicious cake that was then expertly decorated by Chef Julie Knott,” added Marie.

One of the volunteers, Kate Littlechild, said: “It was a lovely and totally unexpected appreciation of what we do. I’m sure none of us were expecting to be thanked, but to have that level of gratitude is very humbling.”

EACH is always on the lookout for more Help at Home volunteers. To read more about the service, click here.

If you are considering volunteering or for more information, head to the EACH website, email volunteerservices@each.org.uk or call 01223 800800 (select option four).

Pictures: Marie Huggins/EACH

Notes to Editors

“EACH has made us all feel part of an extended family and, thanks to staff and fellow families, we’re not alone with problems. We always leave The Treehouse feeling positive, stronger and thankful.”

  • We care for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and support their families.
  • We offer families flexibility and control over where they receive their care and support, including where their child dies – at home, in hospital or at one of three hospices at Milton (Cambridge), The Nook (Norfolk) and The Treehouse (Ipswich).
  • Our family-centred approach includes specialist nursing care, symptom management support, short breaks, wellbeing activities, therapies and counselling, all meeting the individual needs of the child, young person and whole family.
  • We are recognised as leaders in our field, with a reputation for excellence and commitment to pioneering development and innovation.
  • We rely on voluntary donations for the majority of our income and this year need to raise £5.8 million from fundraising and £6.5 million in income from our shops. The year before the pandemic we received just 16% of our total income from statutory sources.
  • EACH Royal Patron –Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.
  • For more information about EACH, including forthcoming events and how you can help raise funds,visit each.org.uk or call our Suffolk fundraisers on 01473 917965.

Keep in touch:


For further information about this release please contact:

Matt Plummer | Media and PR Manager | 07738 328058 | Matt.Plummer@each.org.uk

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