A former science teacher turned long-term charity volunteer says she is proud and honoured to be associated with East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
Dedicated Diane Hincks has been helping at the organisation’s shop in Histon Road, Cambridge, for 11 years. She embarked on her volunteering journey shortly after retiring as a chemistry and physics teacher and loves her role serving customers on the till. She is on first-name terms with many regulars and enjoys doing her bit to help the charity, which supports families and cares for children and young people with life-threatening conditions.
“The shop has been modernised over the years but many of our customers have been coming here as long as I can remember,” said Diane, who was speaking during EACH’s Be the Difference campaign – a fortnight-long drive to recruit more volunteers for its 46 stores. It’s lovely because you get to know them by name and develop friendships. I bumped into one regular while out in town the other day and she told me I was in the wrong shop! I’m proud to have that association with EACH.
“It’s such a worthwhile cause and I’ve done lots of different jobs, including sorting through donations, pricing, portable appliance testing and listing items on eBay. Now I spend my time on the till, serving customers, and it’s something I thoroughly enjoy. I love interacting with new people and also the mix of volunteers here. It’s a great bunch of people.”
During her working life, Diane, who has a son, daughter and three grandchildren, taught chemistry and physics, mainly at Chesterton Community College, in Cambridge. She was full-time until starting her family, after which she did supply teaching in various schools.
“I started volunteering shortly after retiring,” said the 73-year-old. “I had a bit more time on my hands and thought it would be nice to do some volunteering and give something back. I wanted something to do with children, as an ex-teacher, and didn’t want to travel far, as the city is very busy traffic-wise. I looked at a few options and then a friend invited me to come along and see the shop where she volunteered. It was the EACH shop in Histon Road. The rest is history and it’s something I’ve always enjoyed and found rewarding and satisfying. Then my husband came along and joined me six years ago, when he retired. It’s nice doing something together and he enjoys helping with PAT testing.”
The couple have a close connection to EACH as they live a stone’s throw from its Milton hospice. They have been given a tour there and also help in other ways, including running a stall at the Sawston Fun Run. After last year’s event they were invited along to receive a cheque for £5,000, on behalf of EACH. Diane and husband David, who have lived in Milton for 33 years, volunteer every Thursday morning.
“Living where we do, it’s a charity I’ve always been aware of, even before we started volunteering,” said Diane. “It’s great doing something to support a very worthy cause right here on the doorstop, in our village. I’d definitely recommend it to others and it’s incredibly satisfying, knowing you’ve done something to help the children and families being cared for and supported by EACH. The shops are such an important way of raising funds but it’s also great to have a presence in so many communities. It’s a fantastic way to raise awareness.”
EACH relies on voluntary donations for the majority of its income. This year alone it needs to raise £6.5 million from its Retail operation, which includes stores across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex and a busy Retail Distribution Centre, in Thetford.
For more information, speak to a member of staff in-store or contact volunteer services on 01223 205183. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
“We’d heard about EACH and knew they were a fantastic cause that had supported families we knew, but we never thought we’d be the ones that needed them! Sadly, as fantastic as it is, their service will always be required, and every child who needs their help deserves to have it.”
- 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).