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North Haven Hospice Pays Tribute To Volunteers

Media Advisory for immediate use 22 August 2008

North Haven Hospice Pays Tribute To Volunteers With Special Day

The North Haven Hospice in Whangarei will host a Volunteers Day on 26 August to recognise the special contribution its volunteers make to the Northland Community.

The Volunteers Day will see many of the Hospice’s 380 volunteers enjoy an afternoon of fun, food, wine and even a special interactive line dancing demonstration.

North Haven Hospice Volunteer Manager Julie Jensen says the team is excited about the upcoming celebration, which is being supported by major sponsor Meridian.

“As we are a Hospice, we rely heavily on donated funds and operate on a tight budget so it is great that Meridian has come to the party to help with the event. Many of our volunteers have been with us for more than ten years, some of them twenty, so we are delighted that we will be able to show them how much we appreciate all of their hard work,” she says.

“We will be making special presentations to our long service volunteers and we expect it to be a fantastic day where everyone can come together and have fun,” she added.

Kay Eade, Meridian’s Sponsorship Co-ordinator, says Meridian is proud to be able to play a part in recognising all the people that work hard to provide hospice palliative care to people who are living with terminal illness.

“North Haven Hospice is an invaluable facility for the terminally ill and their families in the Northland region. The staff and volunteers do a wonderful job to help improve their patients’ quality of life by providing comfort, dignity and respect to people in their final days. We are delighted to be able to help provide the appropriate recognition for their hard work,” she says.

North Haven Hospice cares for terminally ill people in the Northland area and serves a population of around 170,000. The Hospice has a five bed inpatient facility and cares for approximately 80-100 people in the community at any one time.

One particular volunteer, Elaine Richards, has been volunteering at the Hospice for more than 16 years.

“I first started as a volunteer at the Hospice and then I became the cook after semi-retiring. In the past few years I have been working in the Hospice shop but my most rewarding work has been documenting the stories of some of the people we look after,” she says.

During the past ten years Elaine Richards has met with dozens of people to record their thoughts and stories to pass on to their families once they have passed on.

“Meeting with people and listening to their stories is incredibly rewarding. Often people want to pass on their beliefs and advice to their children or loved ones before they pass, these can vary from anywhere from a dozen to eighty pages. On other occasions people have asked me to record birthday wishes for children to be read as each year passes,” she says.

“I have formed some strong bonds with some of the families of the people I have documented stories for. They really appreciate the fact that their loved one has chosen to pass something on, and I am proud to be able to help them do this,” she added.

One of the Hospice’s longest serving volunteers is 84-year-old Mac McAnulty. Mac started at the Hospice more than 20 years ago as a home-carer.

“The work that the Hospice does is so valuable. They are a great bunch of people and they are what keep me coming back. The home-care work was very rewarding but now that I am a bit older, I still enjoy going in once or twice a week to help out where I can, whether it is putting up shelving or fitting lights,” he says.

Mac McAnulty first started at the Hospice when he was forced to stop work as a builder to care for his sick wife. He has been involved with the Hospice ever since.

Media are invited to come to the North Haven Hospice Volunteers Day from 3-4pm on 26 August to talk with some of the volunteers, and staff.


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