Creative shop worker Mary Hyder has spoken of the “mental and emotional” benefits of volunteering for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
The 69-year-old puts her skills to good use by helping at the charity’s Swaffham shop.
Mary volunteers in the shop every Monday morning and spends much of her week making things like bunting, to grace the windows of the Market Place store.
She has been helping since retiring last March and was speaking during EACH’s We Need You campaign.
The fortnight-long recruitment drive is an initiative to encourage more volunteers to step forward and help in one of the charity’s 44 shops.
“My main role is to dress the window and do the interior displays,” said Mary.
“I love it as it gives me an outlet for my creativity. I make bunting most weeks and that gives me a focus during the week at home, too.
“I also love being part of the team. That connection with others is so important.
“We have some lovely customers and most of them like to have a chat.
“The other thing I really like is that, because Swaffham isn’t a particularly big town, working in the shop really gives me a sense of community. It’s all about that connection with others.”
Mary, who celebrates her 70th birthday in April, says volunteering is an entirely positive experience and would love to see others get involved.
“It’s been a really positive experience for me,” she said.
“It’s like anything else, I guess, in that you take from it by making an effort and giving something of yourself.
“However, the mental and emotional benefits are so worth the effort and I’d heartily recommend volunteering to anyone with a little time on their hands.”
The Swaffham shop is open from 9am until 5pm Monday to Saturday.