“I know how parents feel, especially those that are bereaved. There are waves of grief and shock and I feel empathy, compassion and a sense of understanding” – Lynette says volunteering is helping her rebuild her life while also supporting others

A bereaved mum who previously wanted to hide from the world is rebuilding her life thanks to volunteering in a charity shop. Lynette Stone recently started helping in the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) store in Milton Road, Cambridge.

She spends her Thursdays there and says it is helping her get back on track after the devastation of 12-year-old son Alfie dying suddenly in December 2019. She lived in Northamptonshire at the time and admits it was “too much to bear”.

Three years on, Lynette and husband Kevin decided to relocate to Cambridge and now she is establishing herself as a key part of the volunteer team at Milton Road.

“I’d been finding it hard to move on and part of me died that day,” said the 48-year-old, who also has a daughter, Maicey, 23.

“Alfie was such a lovable lad. Everyone thought the world of him, so I was completely lost when he was gone. Our home was near his school and I could hear children out in the playground, which made me so sad.

“I started hiding from the world, which isn’t like me. I’m normally full of life, bubbly and a real people person, but I could feel myself shrinking. I didn’t open the door and wanted the outside world to disappear.

“Everyone knew us there and it felt right and healthy to start afresh somewhere else. That’s why we moved to Cambridge. I’ve always been a fan of charity shops and noticed the EACH one in Milton Road.

“I popped in one day and that’s when I first met (shop manager) Emma (Thompson). She was so friendly and we got talking about volunteering. When I said I might be interested, she invited me along to a bingo night so I could meet the others.

“I was nervous but pushed myself to go. Thankfully, it was the best decision I could have made.”

Because of her experiences, Lynette says volunteering for a children’s charity is a perfect fit.

“I’ve always considered myself a giver rather than a taker and would do anything for anyone,” she said.

“Now I want to do anything I can to help children, young people and families receiving care and support from EACH. I want to give them hope and make their lives as happy as possible, full of beautiful memories.

“Volunteering gives me that opportunity, because I’m in a position to help raise funds that make a genuine difference. I’ve been in a similar position and know how parents feel, especially those that are bereaved. There are so many waves of grief and shock and I feel empathy, compassion and a sense of understanding.”

In addition to helping others, Lynette believes volunteering in the shop has helped her get back on track.

“It’s the best thing I could have done because I’ve been welcomed into a community of lovely, friendly and supportive people,” said the former Morrison employee, who worked in the supermarket’s HR department for 18 years and was one of its Community Champions.

“I can’t believe how much they’ve done for me and I feel part of the team already. I wanted them to know my story and told them about Alfie. I know I can talk about him and the team will always be supportive. Equally, the shop is a place where I can think about other things and there’s a feeling of escapism.

“It’s baby steps but my daughter and other family members say I’m like my old self again and that my bubbliness and focus is returning. In the last few years, I’ve had no interest in Christmas. I didn’t want to do anything or celebrate in any way, but I can feel myself changing.

“Obviously, I’ll never forget what’s happened but that can only be a good sign, in terms of getting myself back on track. Everyone here has a smile on their face and I love being out on the shop floor, serving customers.

“When I started, I wondered how it would feel when babies and young children came into the shop. I didn’t know what impact that would have on me but it’s actually been fine and made me happy.

“If anything, it’s made me face up to things that I might otherwise have run away from.”

For more information about volunteering, speak to a member of staff in-store or contact volunteer services on 01223 205183. Alternatively, email volunteerservices@each.org.uk

To find your nearest EACH shop, head here.

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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