Treetops Hospice Care have congratulated volunteers and staff who between them have dedicated 300 years of commitment to the local charity.

Sixteen long service awards were presented to those who have been with the hospice for fifteen, twenty and thirty years, working and volunteering in all areas of the hospice. Treetops, based in Risley, provides nursing care and emotional support for adults, their families and carers living across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Everyone who comes here, joins the family of Treetops

Amongst those being recognised were Pat Thomson, from Sandiacre, and Jan Wilkinson, from Breaston, who have both supported the hospice as volunteers since the charity began thirty years ago.

Jan, 68, first started by fundraising for Treetops. She now volunteers as a driver, minibus escort and supports guests in the Day Care Unit:

“I was one of the original members of the fundraising group. We didn’t even have a building when I first started. There’s been lots of positive change and growth but it still has that friendly feel to it and the atmosphere is wonderful, superb. Everyone who comes here, joins the family of Treetops.

“I help provide transport for people to come here – many of them are living on their own or their circumstances mean they couldn’t get here otherwise. It’s the one day they have to get out of the house and out of the same four walls. And we can get them here – it’s a vital part of the service. Their visit to Treetops starts when we pick them up from their front door and finishes when we bring them back home.”

Such a worthwhile cause

Pat, 85, was an early trustee for the hospice. These days, she volunteers in the Sandiacre charity shop as well as at fundraising events:

“It’s such a worthwhile cause. When my husband and I moved to Sandiacre, I saw an article in the local newspaper by this very new charity setting up and hoping to open up a hospice. And I thought, to have a charity right on my doorstep was too big a chance to miss. And here I am all these years later.”

Two Hospice at Home nurses, Elaine Gutteridge, 65, from Chaddesden, and June Rutter, 57, from Swadlincote, joined Treetops at the same time fifteen years ago.

Hospice at Home nurses provides care for patients at the end of life in their own homes overnight and during the day. Last year, Hospice at Home nurses provided just under 39,500 hours of support across Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

It’s the family that we’re there for every bit as much as the patient

Elaine explained how much she enjoyed her nursing role:

“Because it’s local, it’s personal, which is the lovely thing about it. It is a difficult job but it’s rewarding.

“It’s not just the person that’s poorly, but it’s the whole family you get to interact with. Often I think it’s the family that we’re there for every bit as much as the patient. In those early hours of the morning, when things are at their darkest and they want someone to talk to, we’re neutral. We’re not family, we’re not friends – they can say what they want.”

Carol Hopkins, Hospice at Home Manager said:

“Both Elaine and June are very experienced nurses who deliver excellent standards of care to our patients and their families. We’re delighted to present them with their long service awards and recognise their dedication to hundreds of patients over the years.”

Absolutely wonderful place to be

Mary Hopkinson, Mayor of Erewash presented the awards:

“This is an absolutely wonderful place to be and I know, if in the future, if I have to come here I know I’ll receive excellent treatment from kind and caring staff and volunteers.”

Somewhere you can see the difference you make in people’s lives

The presentations were part of the hospice’s Annual General Meeting as Clair Welch, volunteer services coordinator, explained:

“It’s been a really special evening and a chance for us to acknowledge and thank all those that have been supporting us for such a long time.

“Tonight really reflects how everyone feels about the charity. It’s easy to say that Treetops is a lovely place to work, that it’s warm and welcoming and somewhere you can see the difference you make in people’s lives – here’s the proof!”

Treetops Hospice Care services include Support and Information, a Day Care Unit, Hospice at Home nurses and Therapeutic Services including counselling, art therapy and complementary therapy.