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Posted on Dec 2 2019 by Bobbie Kelly

90-year-old Mary shares her St Andrew’s volunteering story with BBC Radio Northampton

Mary has been volunteering at St Andrew's for over 15 years, and involved with the charity in one way or another since 1973. Today she met BBC Radio Northampton’s Helen Blaby, and shared some of her story…

To listen, click here.

"I have been volunteering at St Andrew’s for 15 years. My involvement with the charity started when I came up from Cornwall to do a job in Northampton, and I met some of the patients on an outing that they had. I then discovered that they were from this beautiful hospital, and found out more about what they were doing. I was naturally drawn to help in any way I could. I didn’t become a volunteer officially until I retired, and that was over 15 years ago.

"I get up to lots of things. I visit on a regular basis, and join in with any of the activities that happen on the ward or in the hospital as a whole. I befriend patients, and work to build a relationship on a 1-2-1 basis with people who may not have many visitors - or indeed anyone at all in their life that visits them.

"It can be a long day in hospital, no matter how much activity can be provided, but that 1-2-1 contact with friends can be so valuable. Once I’ve been visiting a ward for a while I get recognised, and if I see people out and about I get a high-five, or a wink maybe, and we stop for a chat. It is really very rewarding to do this.

"When I left school I started off finding ways to help people and volunteer, and that brought me out of my shell. Voluntary work has really helped me. It's a two way thing, and it’s wonderful being a volunteer. You get so much satisfaction from very little things, like walking around and recognising someone from a ward you have been on and having a chat. It is so rewarding.

"I’m 90. Volunteering is good for me. It keeps me young, visiting patients and meeting staff. I've seen the care and love that goes into keeping patients safe and comfortable, providing stimulation for them. Being a part of that is so uplifting, how can I get old if I am involved in that?"

 To find out more about volunteering at St Andrew’s, read more here.