We spoke to one of the volunteers who originally helped get St. Rocco's started back in the early 1980s.
Can you imagine what would have happened if there had been no St. Rocco’s in Warrington? Our hard-worked NHS would have been under more strain over the past 30+ years dealing with the special requirements of palliative patients. Fortunately, we have not had to face that scenario thanks to the hard work and forward-seeing vision of a group of locals, starting back in the late 1970s.
We were lucky enough to catch up with one these people recently to hear her story. After Dr Thomas came up with idea of St. Rocco’s, she, saw an article about it in the Warrington Guardian and decided she wanted to be involved in helping get the Hospice setup.
“I was involved initially in getting funds raised,” she told us. “There was no such thing as the Internet and email back then, so we did it the traditional way of dropping off donation envelopes at private houses and collecting them a few days later.
“There were a whole team of us across Warrington doing this and by the early 1980s, we had generated enough funds to buy and convert the Old Vicarage in Orford.
“Once everything was setup, I was one of the volunteers that came in regularly to help the nurses. At that time very few people were actually paid. The Drs and a lot of the staff gave their time voluntarily. I used to come in on a Thursday afternoon, to help distribute teas that had been prepared by the kitchen staff, tidy the kitchen, as well as cleaning, making up beds and generally helping the nurses.”
Ensuring the future
“I loved the time I was there. I made lots of friends and the atmosphere in the Hospice was usually positive despite the trying circumstances. By the time I retired, just before the new Hospice opened, I was the Deputy Volunteer Co-ordinator. This meant that I helped in assessing and supporting new volunteers. So, when I did eventually retire it was nice to know that I had not only helped in the early years but also made sure more volunteers were coming through to ensure the Hospice could continue to operate.
“I was just one of many who helped out. But we all contributed, and it is great to see St. Rocco’s is still going strong today. I feel proud that I was involved from the outset.”