Volunteer celebrates three decades of devotion to hospice

Maureen celebrates with daughter Janet
Maureen celebrates with daughter Janet
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For more than three decades, one gran has raised thousands of pounds to help patients suffering with terminal illness in the borough.

Maureen Shaw, from Hindley Green, has been volunteering for Wigan and Leigh Hospice for the past 32 years.

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The 76-year-old’s incredible dedication to helping those with life-limiting illnesses, has been recognised this week at a ceremony held by the Wigan Borough Community Partnership.

Maureen, a former receptionist at Hindley Green Surgery, was first drawn to volunteer work when her dad died from prostate cancer.

She would visit him at weekends and found it hard looking after him.

“It was a mess,” she said. “I was over here in Hindley Green and my parents were over in Burnley.

“I was working full-time and there was no hospice in Burnley to help. I just thought if there had been one it would have been much easier for my family.

“I heard that they were hoping to start a hospice up in Wigan and were fund-raising and it all started from there.

“It was my first encounter with cancer really and I think it just inspired me to do something.”

Maureen was clearing out her daughter’s old books when she decided to take them into the doctor’s practice where she was working at the time and sell them to patients and staff.

“I ran that for around 20 years,” she added.

“Then we got into the coffee mornings at St John’s church. We did a keep fit too.

“I still do the coffee mornings. People really like them. I think they come for the chat as much as anything else.

“I have been really fortunate with people helping me. I don’t do it all by myself.”

As well as taking part in house-to-house collections, Maureen volunteers in the hospice kitchen alongside her daughter.

Janet Kearsley, 51, has been working as the charity’s cook for the past two decades.

Maureen added: “I wanted to do some volunteering after the boys were too old for me to take them to school anymore.

“It’s really nice. It’s just a nice place to work.”

Janet was instrumental in getting her mum to the secret ceremony held at Leigh Sports Village to celebrate her years of dedication.

“It was a lovely day,” added Maureen. “The hospice has so many volunteers and it does appreciate every single one of them.”

Ruth Blunt, HR and volunteer manager, said: “Volunteering for 32 years is a remarkable achievement and it’s fantastic to see Maureen’s contribution recognised.

“As a charity we rely on the support and dedication of our valued volunteers to help us care for people with life-limiting illness across Wigan and Leigh. On behalf of the hospice I want to thank Maureen for everything she has done for her community.”