“I sometimes think about all the years I’ve volunteered and it makes me proud. Being in the shop is good for me and I feel lucky to be able to help” – incredible Olive has been showing her support and lending a hand for nearly three decades

A dedicated volunteer is as happy and committed as ever after nearly three decades serving customers at her favourite charity shop.

Determined Olive Duffield is a much-loved and respected member of the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) team in Long Stratton.

Incredibly, the 85-year-old started volunteering for the charity in early 1995, working at the former shop that raised funds for the old Quidenham hospice.

She is one of EACH’s longest-serving volunteers and was speaking ahead of national Volunteers’ Week – a celebration that starts on Monday and runs until Sunday, with the theme being ’40 years of volunteers’.

“I still enjoy it as much as ever,” said Olive, who helps out every Friday morning.

“I love being on the till, meeting new people and serving regular customers – many of whom feel like friends.

“I’ve known lots of them for years and seen children grow up, now coming into the shop with their own little ones.

“The social aspect of volunteering is very important to me.

“Being in the shop is good for me and it’s definitely something I want to do as long I possibly can.

“It gets me out and I like the sense of helping others. The more money we take the better, because of the charity we’re supporting.”

Volunteers’ Week is a chance to recognise the contribution people make within their communities and is supported by small, grassroots organisations, as well as larger, household-name charities.

Olive says helping out is something she would recommend to anyone.

“I’d definitely encourage people to get involved,” she said.

“I feel lucky to be able to help and wouldn’t want to be at home all the time. I’d rather get out and keep my mind active.

“I sometimes think about all the years I’ve volunteered and it makes me proud.

“It’s a great thing to do – for that person individually, for their community and for this great charity. Like me, I know they would get a lot out of it.”

Olive is married to Michael, 91, and lives in nearby Tharston.

The couple have four children, four grandchildren and are also great grandparents.

Sales assistant Sarah Mayes says Olive has VIP status in Long Stratton.

“She’s an amazing lady and a real inspiration,” she said.

“The number of years she’s been volunteering is incredible, although she’s so humble and casual about it.

“It’s amazing and we wouldn’t be able to function without people like Olive.

“Our shops only operate because of kind, selfless people like her.

“I just hope I’m as active and sprightly when I’m her age!”

EACH volunteers lend their time in a variety of ways, from supporting the Retail and Fundraising teams to lending a hand at its three hospices. They range in age and come from a variety of backgrounds, with differing skillsets.

Anyone interested in joining the team and finding out more can email volunteerservices@each.org.uk or click here.

Volunteers’ Week is this year combining with The Big Help Out – a national initiative to encourage individuals to take part in some kind of voluntary activity next weekend (7th to 9th June). For more information, head here.

EACH’s shop volunteering roles have been registered on the site, as well as a general fundraising role.

Find our notes to editors here.

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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