Sandy Alford - Ridley's Café and Education Team Volunteer

“Through volunteering I feel I am giving back to the hospice which provides great comfort and care to so many families, during life’s most uncertain times,” explained Sandy Alford who has volunteered as a catering assistant and as a support to the Education team, at St Elizabeth Hospice, since May 2021.

Every year more than 3,000 people living with a progressive or life-limiting illness, and their families, are supported throughout east Suffolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney by the free specialist palliative care provision of St Elizabeth Hospice.

This care is provided by hospice staff who operate throughout the region but who are supported by a fantastic team of volunteers, like Sandy, whose generosity enables St Elizabeth Hospice to continue evolving its services to care for more people in the local community.

“I always thought when I retired that I would volunteer for a local charity or organisation,” said Sandy, who lives in Ipswich.

“I retired in 2019 as I wanted to spend more time with my parents, however shortly after I retired my Dad was diagnosed with cancer.

“During this time he came under the hospice’s care and as his condition deteriorated he eventually moved to the hospice’s inpatient unit.

“From the very moment St Elizabeth Hospice began supporting Dad, I was blown away by their care and how they helped him, my Mum and myself. It was just all-around support for the whole family and I knew then that I wanted to volunteer for this charity to say ‘thank you’ for their fantastic care.

“I haven’t looked back since! I volunteer twice a week, but you can do as little or as many hours as you like – there really is no pressure.

“On Mondays I support the Education team with ensuring all staff training is up to date, while on Thursdays I volunteer at the hospice’s Ridley’s Café in the Community Care Unit.

“This sees me serving drinks and food to patients and their families as well as playing board games with them and just enjoying good conversation.

“It is so nice to meet new people, getting to know their stories and you really feel part of a bigger hospice family.

“St Elizabeth Hospice is such a warm and friendly place to be and I am so proud to volunteer for an organisation which provides support to so many people in my community.

“There are so many ways you can volunteer for the hospice or even its young adult Zest. Everyone has a skill which can be of benefit to the team and they will make sure they find a volunteering role which best suits your strengths – just give them a call, you have nothing to lose.”

To learn more about volunteering opportunities at St Elizabeth Hospice email or visit

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