"Whether they’re looking at your face or other parts of you, they’re smiling all the time"
The couple pick up donated toys and games from our donation centre and spend hours counting the pieces and checking the contents so people aren’t disappointed by missing bits when they buy one from our shops. When they are not volunteering their time to that intricate task, over the last 13 years they have built up a round of 50 money collection pots which they pick up from local businesses and replace with fresh pots ready for people to pop their pennies in.
Tony explains: “We got to like it and thought oh yes, we’re doing some good here and we’re doing some good for ourselves too; we’re getting out more, meeting a lot of people... and it grew from that.”
They became involved in volunteering after Deryn took part in St Helena’s first Midnight Walk after a diagnosis of breast cancer, and Tony went along as a marshal to support his partner and the ladies taking part. Deryn remembers one particular Midnight Walk:
“I remember one in a thunderstorm at one o’clock in the morning. I’m not best in thunderstorms during the day! Yes, we were soaked through.”
Tony adds: “I was standing on my corner and we were just dripping through to our underpants! It was a shocker! It was wet, but everybody still laughed and enjoyed it.”
Soon after they took part in Pier to Pier from Clacton to Walton and back, which was also memorable: “I had breast cancer and I hadn’t long been out of hospital and we did the Pier to Pier and I phoned into BBC Essex and they put it on there. People just turned up with cheques and we had buckets. My neighbours and friends all came along with us so we got quite a lot of money. It was tiring because I hadn’t long been out of hospital.”
The couple have continued to take part in St Helena events, although have given them a break recently as Tony has been unwell with cancer which has spread to his hip, back and knee. Now Tony and Deryn are experiencing first hand where their volunteering and fundraising goes, as Tony is staying at the Hospice to help control his pain. Tony says:
“It’s totally different to what I thought it was and I think it’s probably the same with people’s idea of what a hospice is. I just thought people came here to die and I’ve found out that it’s not. They’re here to help people and they’re very clever. There are lots of doctors, modern machinery. The nurses are terrific, smiling all the time, whether they’re looking at your face or other parts of you, they’re smiling all the time!
“They are very, very good. That’s what it’s like here, it’s lovely. The people are nice. I’m sitting here waiting now, they’re going to bring my dinner to me soon. I’m having a steak and ale and mushroom pie with mash and vegetables and sticky toffee pudding for afters, so that’s not too bad!
The nurses are terrific, smiling all the time, whether they’re looking at your face or other parts of you, they’re smiling all the time!
“They’re lovely people. Nothing is too much trouble, they’ll do anything that you ask, or don’t ask. They’re brilliant the people who come here to volunteer; from the people who do the gardens, they keep them absolutely brilliant, to the people who are inside helping.
“It certainly feels I am in good hands. The doctors that come round, you have belief in them and they’re very good and explain everything that’s going on to you.”
Deryn adds: “Nothing’s too much trouble. They’ve got everything covered. We’re very lucky to have something like this.”
Tony agrees: “Yes, we are. More people should try and help the overall lot of it because it needs people, needs the volunteers.
"I can’t stay in here too long; we’ve got to go out and get those pots in. We do what we can do and it’s a pleasure to have something back from volunteering as well. They give us more than what we give them, we feel. They’re brilliant.”
To contact the St Helena Fundraising team, please telephone 01206 931 468 or email email@example.com , Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm.
24 hour advice: SinglePoint 01206 890 360
SinglePoint is a 24/7 advice and support helpline which helps to coordinate an individual’s care with the hospice. SinglePoint also works alongside other healthcare services such as GPs, Community Nurses or Specialists.
To contact a patient at The Hospice please find the address and telephone number below. Phone calls can be made to patients at any time of the day or week. You can contact Inpatient Services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Hospice, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, C04 9JU
Telephone: 01206 845 566
You can contact The Hospice in the Home Team Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:
Telephone: 01206 845 566
Tendring community team
Telephone: 01255 221 222
You can contact the Joan Tomkins Centre (Colchester) Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on:
Telephone: 01206 848 163
Fax: 01206 752 245
You can contact the St Helena Tendring Centre (Clacton) Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01255 221 222
Tendring Centre Postcode for Sat Navs: CO15 1EU
The HR Team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466
To contact the St Helena Finance Team please telephone 01206 931 450 Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
The Volunteer Services team can be contacted Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm on 01206 931 466
For all media enquiries between 9.00am and 5.00pm, Monday to Friday, please phone the Marketing and Communications team directly on 01206 931 464
If you, or a member of your family has a life-limiting illness and would like to discuss whether St Helena care services can help, you can contact the SinglePoint telephone service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 01206 890 360
To contact the St Helena Bereavement Support team please telephone the bereavement helpline: 01206 984 274, Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.00pm
The Learning and Development Centre is open Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 5.00pm and can be contacted on 01206 851 560
For more information on the St Helena Service User Group please contact Chair, Ken Aldred on 01206 751 397
To contact the Lottery team please call 0800 285 1390 or visit the website here, Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.
If you would like to write to or visit the Lottery team, the address is: Your Hospice Lottery Office Unit 6 The Atrium, Phoenix Square, Wyncolls Road, Colchester CO4 9AS.
Feedback, comments and complaints about St Helena care and support services may be made verbally or in writing to: Director of Care, St Helena, Myland Hall, Barncroft Close, Highwoods, Colchester, CO4 9JU. To speak to a member of our team, call 01206 845 566