One volunteer’s story

Hospices of Hope was one of the missions supported by my church. The lively reports and the passionate way in which the champion, Carole, presented them kindled an interest which resulted in my joining an Insight Tour in 2007. Our short time at the Brasov Hospice & Education Centre in Romania was a moving experience; the quality of care offered by the staff and gratefully received by patients was impressive. Every day was certainly being ‘made to count’ in a really attractive way.

When I was able to re-arrange my retirement commitments in 2011 Alex Bache signed me up as a volunteer with responsibility for sorting and packing medical donations – then being stored in a small garage just opposite the Otford shop and being sorted & packed on the ground outside it! With the proliferation of donations some space was made available in the trading company’s warehouse in Orpington and later in Dartford. Eventually at the start of 2019 it relocated to its own more spacious unit in Hadlow.  There’s a wide range of medical donations (mostly stoma related), sent either by families, hospitals or companies, all of which needs unpacking, sorting, checking, repacking, listing and finally loaded onto pallets for one of the country destinations Romania, Moldova, Albania. The work has also outgrown one person’s capacity so there is now a team of four of us – 3 ex teachers and a former garage proprietor – which meet to ‘play’ monthly. The task of typing up the manifests and negotiating for the shipment of the pallets we are pleased to leave in the hands of our line manager in the office.  In 2019 these medical donations were valued at approximately …….. though of course it’s the personal value to their recipients which is ultimately significant.

Andrew Alford (December 2020)

on behalf of Steve, Ian and Matt