St John’s Hospice’s longest serving volunteer is retiring after 35 years of service. 

Marion Robinson started volunteering at St John’s not long after it first opened in 1986 after attending a flower festival fundraiser at the Hospice and seeing people sign up to volunteer. Marion said “I had just lost my mum and I felt lost. I didn’t have a personal connection to the Hospice at the time, but it gave me something to do.” 

Though Marion has most recently been working in the furniture charity shop in Garstang, she’s held many roles through the years, from helping with office work, to doing the ‘tea round’ on the ward, to working behind reception and in the Hospice’s Day Centre, but volunteering in the shop has been her favourite role.  

Marion said “It’s sociable, people just come in for a natter! Garstang is my local village, so it’s nice being able to see people you know all the time.” Working in the shop means she gets to see all the bargains – St John’s Garstang shop specialises in furniture and Marion said “My house is all full of things from the shop. It’s amazing what they do with some of the donations as well, sometimes something pre-loved comes in then one of the volunteers works their magic and it looks new!” 

Reflecting on how things have changed at St John’s Hospice in the last 35 years, Marion noted a lot had changed; the Hospice is larger and its services are no longer confined to the ward, but reach out into the community too. Some things don’t change, however. Marion says the Hospice has always been a welcoming place to be a volunteer, she added, “Sister Aine [St John’s Hospice’s founder] was wonderful. As soon as you walked in she knew you, she knew everyone’s name, she was so nice.” 

Marion decided the time was right to retire from her volunteering, as she wants to spend more time with her family. She said “I’ve loved my time as a volunteer, but if this last year has taught me anything, it’s that I want to be able to spend more time with my grandchildren and now my great-grandchildren.” 

Nicky Willan, our Volunteer Coordinator, said “We’ll miss Marion here at St John’s, but after 35 years I think she deserves a rest! It’s wonderful to meet people with such long relationships with the Hospice, they show such dedication and always have wonderful stories to tell. Our volunteers really are valued – we wouldn’t be able to provide our important services without them.” 

If you’re interested in volunteering for St John’s Hospice in one of their many different roles, click here or call 01524 382538 during office hours.