Jill Pullin volunteered at Derian House for 25 years and has helped out on reception, in a charity shop, and at events. In more recent years, Jill started a popular tea and cake trolley round every Wednesday, much to the delight of families and staff.
Jill said: “I came to volunteer in 1996 when Derian House was three years old. I thought it would be nice to do things for the children and the staff. Not just that, it was a nice little social life for me. I’d retired early at 54 – I’m 80 now! Derian house was a lot smaller back then and the garden was completely different. When I was there, it cost £600,000 a year to run the hospice.
“You never know what’s going to happen at Derian House. I remember once a mounted police officer came to visit and had to take a phone call so left me looking after his horse! Then there was the time we had lambs in for the children to see and they kept weeing all over the floor in reception. The housekeepers had to follow them around with a mop!”
“I remember I once helped out at a wedding fair for Derian House.” Said Jill. “It was in Accrington and all the nurses were modelling dresses that had been donated to us. When I got there, they asked me if I could iron – there were 20 or 30 wedding dresses to do! By the time I’d done 3 or 4 I was exhausted.”
“I enjoyed doing my tea trolley round.” Jill continued. “I would dress up as the royal family – I’ve been Philip, Camilla, Harry even. It was great to make everyone smile. I love the atmosphere at Derian. I always looked forward to going in.”
Jill has enjoyed using her crafting skills to help out over the years. While she has now retired as a volunteer, she still knits and makes her own cards to raise money for Derian House.
“Volunteering at Derian House is like no other place – you never know what they’ll have you doing,” she continued. “We’ve had such laughs over the years. I always say with volunteering, you get so much more out of it than you put in. At Derian House I’ve made so many friends over the years and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”