BBC News presenters Roger Johnson and Diane Oxberry recently joined in the celebrations at the Willowbrook Hospice annual staff and volunteers’ long service award ceremony at The Venue, Huyton.
The Mayor of Knowsley, Cllr Frank Walsh, presented the awards to over 40 staff and volunteers who have amassed five, ten, 15, 20 or 25 years of service to the hospice.
Among the recipients was stalwart supporter, Lady Kirsty Pilkington who was part of the initial Willowbrook Steering Committee back in 1991 and who has remained a driving force throughout the development the hospice.
Other long serving award winners including local soprano Lynn Jones who has worked, volunteered and received care at the hospice.
Former admin officer, Lynn, 66 from Rainhill has volunteered her singing services to Willowbrook for over 15 years, having been cared for at the hospice’s day therapy centre in 2009 as part of her treatment for ovarian cancer.
Classically trained Lynn not only organises her own annual charity concert to raise funds for the hospice – raising over £10,000 over the years – but also performs at the Willowbrook memorial services and the three Light Up A Life services every December.
Lynn says: “When I was a patient at the hospice I honestly couldn’t fault it! People think going to a hospice will be depressing but it’s anything but! Attending day therapy was so uplifting! The staff there were fantastic and I made some great friends.”
“I’m proud to volunteer my singing services to the hospice. It’s my way of giving back to them for the wonderful care they offered to me and to all the other local people they’ve supported over the years. Performing is something I love doing and I will keep singing for Willowbrook til I drop!”
Ian Turnbull, Volunteer co-ordinator at the hospice said: “Without people like Lynn and all the other volunteers at the hospice we wouldn’t be able to provide all the services that we offer. We have volunteers in every department at the hospice – from reception, to gardening to housekeeping, fundraising or working in our charity shops. Our annual awards ceremony is our way of recognising all the hard work that both staff and volunteers do throughout the year to help us keep caring for people across St Helens and Knowsley.”
For more information on volunteering at Willowbrook, ring 0151 430 8736 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Main photo – Roger Johnson, Diane Oxberry, Lady Kirsty Pilkington and Alan Chick – Chair of the Willowbrook Board of Trustees