Fundraising and volunteering has been an intrinsic part of Rosalind Driver’s life for almost 40 years -- and the gutsy 71-year-old is determined she will raise £20,000 for hospice charity ellenor in her lifetime.
Rosalind, known as Ros by her friends at ellenor, is never afraid to take on a new challenge. Her latest achievement was a fire walk held at Dartford Football Club.
She said: “It wasn’t terrifying – just mind over matter really. I do really like challenges. When I went to the Himalayas with ellenor for a fundraising walk my son was horrified when he dropped me off at the airport. He saw everyone else going on the trek looked like professional walkers whereas all I used to do was walk every Sunday morning to Higham and back! They ended up getting a special Sherpa just for me. The main reason I went along was to meet the Dalai Lama, but he wasn’t there. Everyone joked that he must have known I was coming!”
As well as the Himalayan trek, when she raised £11,000, Ros has abseiled in aid of ellenor and braved a sky dive – an experience she has sworn never to repeat. She also did the charity’s Chilli Dip, plunging into an outdoor pool in February! Karaoke and quiz nights are also firm favourites.
“Two years ago, I had a very slight stroke and as I’m over 70 now I need a doctor’s certificate to take part in some of the fundraising activities. But I do like to try new things and push myself and I suppose I don’t really over think anything at all. I just love it!”
Ros, a practising Christian who has also taken a bereavement counselling course, was introduced to the hospice ethos in the early 1980s when her mum took her along to a WI meeting.
She said: “The speaker that day was Cecily Saunders, founder of the hospice movement. I was enthralled to listen to her, and I knew I would help in any way I could.”
After volunteering for another Kent hospice, Ros heard that The Lions were building one nearby at Northfleet – now the ellenor hospice.
She said: “My two eldest children, who were seven and nine at the time, sold their old toys to buy bricks to help build it. Of course, they are grown up and in their 40s now and although they don’t volunteer at ellenor like I do, they are always here to help me with my fundraising.”
ellenor fundraisers have calculated that Ros has raised £12,000 since 2008, but it is uncertain how much she raised before that, when it was The Lions hospice.
She said: “I may well have raised £20,000 already, but the main point is that I just intend to carry on and raise as much as I can in my lifetime.”
Ros, who lives in Gravesend, has three children, Ben, Jo and Hattie, and six grandchildren – and a seventh on the way. She worked in the funeral directing business until she retired, spending her spare time fundraising and volunteering. She has been an ellenor front of house volunteer in more recent years, and now helps in the fundraising department.