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8th October 2020

It really brought home to me just how much the staff care for patients

Lotte Sherman started volunteering in 1985 when St Helena Hospice opened, first as a trained kitchen helper, then as ward helper doing whatever was needed. 

Lotte remembers…
Lotte Sherman


On my first day I was rather anxious because the cook was very strict and there was lots to remember.

The kitchen and ward in those days did not mix. The kitchen was left spotless.

As my hearing has become awkward at times and I sometimes found it difficult to understand patients’ wishes or requests for the meals, I changed to kitchen duties only. So now on my return after lockdown, that is what I’m doing, although I do miss seeing patients.

As soon as the first restrictions were announced, I knew I would be excluded as a volunteer; my last session was February 18th (according to my diary) and it has seemed an awful long time. As a responsible volunteer, I had to accept it. Once restrictions were eased, we had to update on our various courses i.e. food hygiene/health and safety to return as soon as possible.

I have quite a few memories over the last 35 years, but one outstanding: we had our volunteers’ day in Harwich and just when lunch was being announced, I was called to a phone by my favourite cook. A nurse from the inpatient unit had asked if I would mind coming to sit and speak with a German patient who had no family here and little English (I am German). It really brought it home to me just how much the staff cared for patients, realising the importance for them to be able to communicate in their last hours. Luckily I had come in my own car and was able to get to that patient, and later also communicate with the family in Germany. 

What keeps me volunteering? I just do not like giving up activities, once I get into them. I have to be given notice before I quit!

Needless to say, I have met all kinds of people over the years, in the main lovely, friendly, caring, considerate people. 

This story may not be published elsewhere without express permission from St Helena Hospice.


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