Linda was bored sitting at home and yearned to do something just for her – something fulfilling that would benefit her local community.
That’s why she started volunteering at ellenor, where she now spends one morning a week on the host desk and one afternoon helping out in the clinical admin department.
She said: “I had been caring for my mum and looking after my grandchildren, but I also wanted to do something for myself. After a day at the hospice, I always feel like I have done something useful, or that I have got something moving.
“Once we even managed to get a patient’s wedding brought forward. It was such a good feeling, even though I only played a small part.”
The grandmother, 64, started volunteering in the clinical admin department just before the pandemic, but lockdown put her role on hold. Once the restrictions lifted and she was able to come back to the hospice, she also took up her hot desk role.
She absolutely loves her afternoons at the hospice and is always game for a laugh. She braved an ellenor firewalk two years ago, raising £400 for the charity – she did it six times and was dressed as a green-faced witch! She also sang karaoke at the last Christmas party, helped at Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee celebrations and attended the Gravesham Pride event for ellenor last summer.
Most recently, she was a marshal at the Gurdwara temple during the Sponsored Walkathon in March.
She said: “I wouldn’t say I’m fearless, but I do like to try things. I even did the zipwire at Bluewater. It was a birthday present for myself, but of course I ended up paying for my two teenage grandchildren to come along – we all thought it was great fun. Maybe I’m getting a little bit crazier as I get older.”
Although Linda lives in Wainscott, near Rochester, she is originally from Gravesend, hence her allegiance to the hospice and its services.
She retired early from her demanding job as a chargehand for GlaxoSmithKline in 1999, suffering from burn-out. She was then a single mum to daughter Amy and juggling parenting with very long hours. After stepping back from her career, she found she still wanted to use her brain and be part of the community. So, she volunteered in ellenor’s fundraising office, which was then above KT Coachworks in Gravesend, and later on reception at ellenor’s old offices in Singlewell.