Volunteer Lynne Paine has had a charitable heart since she was a young teenager and is determined to continue helping others during her retirement.
She started volunteering at ellenor one day a week while she was still commuting to London and hasn’t looked back. She is regularly to be found in the reception area of the Northfleet hospice meeting and greeting everyone who comes through the door. Or she will be out and about meeting with ellenor patients and their families as a befriender.
Lynne, 59, said: “I have been volunteering at ellenor for about five years. It is a special place, and you can feel the warmth as soon as you walk in. Everyone wants to help everyone else.”
Her involvement with the charity began when she worked for HSF Health Plan, whose parent company The Hospital Saturday Fund awards grants to medically associated charities and individuals.
She said: “About six or seven years ago ellenor applied to the fund for a grant and as I lived in Gravesend, I was asked to present the cheque, and that’s how I got involved.”
Apart from six years working as an administrator at the old Gravesham Community Hospital, Lynne spent her entire working life in London. By the time she started volunteering at ellenor she had dropped to four days a week. Later she dropped to three days a week and one of those days she was working with The Hospital Saturday Fund, visiting a whole host of charities and organisations, and assessing their suitability for grants. This is when she learned even more about how charities work and how important they are.
She said: “Working in London, I was leaving home at 6.45am and getting home at 6.30pm; it was a long day. I started to work part time a while ago; I just wanted to get back into community life. I started volunteering at ellenor and found out so much more about what they do for families. I started as a befriender one afternoon a week, visiting about three different clients. I just sit with them for an hour or so and give them some company.
“The pandemic was really tough on people and sometimes I would have clients crying down the phone. I wanted to drive straight over to their house and hold their hand, but I couldn’t do anything. My instinct has always been to help people. I think it must come from my mum; she comes from a caring background. She was a social worker for the elderly and a matron in a home for the elderly.”
Lynne now splits her time, spending alternate Thursdays with her befriending clients or meeting and greeting at the hospice.