A kind-hearted couple say they are wearing their lanyards with pride after deciding to start volunteering for charity.
Paul and Amanda Oliver give two half-days a week to lend a hand in the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) shop in Ely.
They are recent recruits, having signed up late last year, but have no regrets and are enjoying the challenge of helping raise as much as possible.
Amanda spends much of her time serving customers while Paul enjoys sorting through donations, which can then be sold in the popular High Street store.
“We felt too young to fully retire, but, equally, wanted to free up some time to volunteer,” said Amanda.
“As cliched as it sounds, it was important to us both to give something back and do something worthwhile.
“We went round all the charity shops in Ely and Soham but were immediately struck by the extremely friendly welcome we received from (shop manager) Lucy (Dickinson).
“It’s such a lovely environment and we knew straight away that we wanted to get involved.
“I love EACH shops. You know what you’re going to get – quality – and everything is so well presented.
“We always look forward to being in the shop, rolling up our sleeves and wearing our lanyards with pride. We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t enjoy it.”
Although now settled in Little Downham, Paul and Amanda lived in Milton – a stone’s throw from EACH’s Cambridgeshire base – between 1988 and 1992.
It was during that time that the hospice was first opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1989.
“When our children were small, I used to take them to the hospice because there was a little shop there,” added Amanda.
“Now they’re in their early 30s.
“I also used to take them to a playgroup at the church next door, so it’s somewhere I feel a connection to.
“It feels we have a genuine link to the charity and it’s nice that things have come full circle and we’re now able to volunteer.”
Paul, who worked for BT for 30 years, loves sorting through donations.
“I enjoy a challenge and like working my way through all the bags of donated goods,” he said.
“We receive such an amazing array and people’s generosity is so wonderful.
“I enjoy sorting through everything, to do what I can to raise as much as possible for this very worthwhile cause.
“Anything I can contribute is time well spent and my job is to turn those bags into something that will benefit the charity.
“Amanda and I talked about volunteering and thought ‘why not?’
“Everyone has been so lovely, welcoming and helpful.
“It’s such a nice working environment and spending time here is always a pleasurable experience.
“It gives me such a sense of purpose and it’s nice feeling part of something.”
For more information about volunteering, speak to a member of staff in-store or contact volunteer services on 01223 205183. Alternatively, email email@example.com
To find your nearest EACH shop, head here.