Fundraise & Get Involved

We need to raise over £8 million every year to provide outstanding Hospice care to the local community. To get involved with our fundraising activities, design your own, or make a donation, use the information on this page.

Sue's Story: The care we received inspires me to volunteer

Sue, a familiar face on the Ward Welcome Desk, was motivated to support the Hospice after caring for her husband John at Cottage Hospice. The couple had been happily married for 50 years before John died. Here, Sue talks about the support they received, how she has coped with John’s death, and why she is passionate about volunteering.

Sue Manuel, Ward Welcome Desk Volunteer

A passion for giving back

The thing I enjoy the most about volunteering here is the people – the staff, patients, friends, and families you see passing by. Being at the Ward Welcome Desk is very much a role where you’re in the background, being helpful. But sometimes, I share my experience; maybe making people feel a little bit better or more comfortable.

Most people don’t know about the work of hospices in the community, and only associate them with dying – that is why I am so enthusiastic about raising awareness. I think death is not talked about enough generally – everybody fears death, but we need to be more aware of it and that it can be a peaceful experience for the individual and their loved ones.

Despite suffering ill health for many years, diagnosed first with cancer and then kidney failure, John never complained, never lost his sense of humour and frequently said how contented he was. We had a very good life together, with lots of happy times.

“John’s first impression was that the Hospice only gets involved when it’s time to die, but this changed once the doctors and nurses started coming to our house.”

When he became very poorly, John was offered care at Cottage Hospice, where I could stay and look after him too. Archie, our dog came as well and thanks to the support, dying was very peaceful for John. I got a lot of comfort from seeing it through.

Sue Manuel with her husband, John Manuel

Individualised care and support

Once you get on the Hospice radar, they stay in touch. I was invited to coffee mornings for the bereaved, known as Tea-Junctions and offered counselling. They also suggested coming along to Time To Be, an alternative, holistic approach to counselling, as well as a safe space to talk about my situation.

I learned that grief comes out in different ways, and a major part of grieving for me was being on my own. I haven’t ever lived on my own, and it takes a lot of getting used to.

Generally, the way John coped and the way I was able to care for him in his final week gave me a lot of peace. I can take a lot of strength from that. When I left Cottage Hospice, I was keen to share my story. The whole experience was remarkable – it was a very natural environment, with other families there and other dogs. Mixing with others provided extra support – we had things that we could laugh and joke about but could share difficulties as well.

The reason I volunteered was the amazing support that the Hospice gave and continues to give. I firmly believe that people aren’t aware of what they do unless they’ve experienced it for themselves – the care that goes to the patient and the care that continues with the carer… It’s phenomenal.

“I imagine most volunteers are here because of their own personal experience. It’s been a very worthwhile way of spending my Thursday afternoons.”

A woman in a white shirt volunteers a Hospice in the Weald, holding hands with the patients as they stroll through the gardens.

Are you interested in volunteering?

Find opportunities here