Spotlight On: Niamh McEvoy, a young volunteer in our Moreton Shop building her passport to a future career #wirralhospice #charityshops #volunteering #caring #wirral #hospicehero #lifestory

Earlier in the year we brought you a story about the great Ann Dermody who has volunteered in our charity shops for over 22 years. It served to show how Ann, alongside an army of over 120 volunteers in our six shops, helps to keep things ticking over to raise those all-important funds for the compassionate care and specialist support services of Wirral Hospice St John’s.

Niamh 1Now we’ve gone to the other end of the scale and spoken with Niamh McEvoy,  just 21 years of age, who talks about how much she enjoys volunteering at our Moreton shop and the special reasons for doing so.

When you meet Niamh you’ll be struck by how gently she speaks. She smiles the whole time and you feel like you’d be well served if you came to ask a question about the merchandise at Moreton, or when you were ready to buy an item.

Our Moreton shop is one of the biggest in our portfolio (we also have shops in Heswall. West Kirby, Liscard, New Brighton and Claughton) so there are plenty of pre-loved items to stir people’s interest. From full 3-piece suites, dining room sets, sideboards and furniture, through men’s, women’s, junior and baby clothing, bric-a-brac, books, toys and much more.

Sorting and displaying stock is a job in itself which Niamh helps with. She also meets customers and operates the till. She’s learning plenty of transferrable skills for her future.Niamh 2 (2)

Niamh tells me about her connection to Wirral Hospice St John’s. Her stepdad, John, who, alongside Niamh’s mum, Lyn, brought Niamh up from very young, attended our Wellbeing Centre in 2016 after his COPD had become particularly troublesome.

Like quite a few other patients, John was a little apprehensive at first on being referred to the hospice, but soon, given strategies for controlling his breathing and getting involved in other therapies and activities looked forward to his visits one day a week.

Niamh remembers how John would help another patient, a lady who was also losing her sight, by reading to her. The sense of community, the many laughs and still knowing he was making a significant contribution was important to him. John died in 2017 and Niamh knew straightaway that she wanted to give something back to the hospice.

Being naturally shy, Niamh would have found it a bit difficult at that time to make the first move to volunteering (not nowadays however, volunteering has really boosted  her confidence) so it was a happy coincidence that John’s nephew, Stephen (pictured here with Niamh), also volunteers at our Moreton shop and helped Niamh to settle in.

Niamh 3 (2)(Stephen’s own Dad, Ronnie, and his brother Robert had also been helped through life-limiting illnesses by Wirral Hospice St John’s and, on retirement four years ago from Cadbury’s at Moreton – the old Burton’s Biscuits – he also decided he wanted to volunteer to give back to the hospice).

In school, Niamh studied at The Kingsway Academy and gained A Levels in Chemistry, Biology, Physics which led her, naturally, to doing a foundation degree in, Drama! What? Well, she wanted to do something different to improve her confidence.

Having secured her foundation degree she is in her second year of a gateway course at the school of Biomedical Science at Liverpool John Moores University. This may lead to forensics or maybe even a future in healthcare.

She’s close to her Mum, Lyn, who works for Wirral Borough Council taking children, with autism and other social communications, to school. The ‘caring’ runs deep in Niamh’s family!

At our Moreton shop she’s a popular volunteer. She loves her volunteering colleagues Fran, Barbara and, of course, Stephen. Ricky (2)She also mentions Ricky, the shop manager (pictured here holding a hospice Summer Memories daisy), as someone she’s always learning from,

“He’s very focused, gets the job done and has been really nice and helpful to me. He leads by example and when I tell him what I’d like to do he’s always encouraging with a heartfelt, ‘Go For It, Niamh!’

niamh and jordan

Niamh and boyfriend Jordan (with Niamh here), often seen with her at other hospice events, have been going out together for a year now. They enjoy lots of things but especially nice walks and have recently started running together.

“We’re thinking of doing a charity run, with sponsorship, for the hospice in 2020.”

I think I can hear Ricky in the background, “Go for it, Niamh!”

Yes please Niamh, go for it! The hospice says a sincere Thank You for all that you do.

Author: Billy Howard

The wonderful world of #Fundraising #Volunteers #Hospiceheroes

wirral_hospice_gift_shop_elvesFundraising volunteers make up a major part of the fundraising team and without volunteer support in the gift shop, the Fundraising Office, our six charity shops and out at fundraising events the Hospice would struggle to raise the funds needed to provide the very important care that it gives to the Wirral community.

Our Hospice gift shop is open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm from September to January and is staffed by a team of dedicated volunteers who get the first glimpses of new stock, label them up and put them out for customers to see and, hopefully, buy. It is exciting every time new stock comes in and handbags and DSC_0211shoes always cause a bit of a stir within the office. This week, two of our shop volunteers, Linda and Barb, were labelling up some gorgeous new jewellery that had just arrived and they shared why they loved volunteering at the shop.  ‘I like being part of the fundraising team and giving something back’ says Linda, who looks forward to seeing customers she sees every year who buy their Christmas cards and gifts from our shop, Linda says ‘it’s really nice to get to know people and see them again and again’. Barb’s personal experience with the hospice bereavement group is part of why she volunteers ‘It was hard going to the group that first time, but I made some amazing friends and I’m glad I went’ Barb explained that she volunteers so that services like the bereavement group can continue.

DSCF5050The Fundraising Office has a volunteer on reception every day of the week, and each day in the office is different, along with answering calls on the reception desk, opening the post and doing admin duties, our office volunteers find themselves doing all manner of jobs to help the fundraising team each and every day. Sometimes it’s modelling the latest ebay item (we recently saw our Friday morning volunteer Pat out in the sunshine in a designer waterproof cape soon to appear on ebay– see picture), or wrapping the constant stream of raffle prizes for our events throughout the year, often our volunteers are answering the phone while labelling up the next weekend’s ever popular tombola. Karen, our Friday afternoon volunteer remembers coming in on a hot summer’s day wearing a Christmas jumper for a photograph for reopening of the Gift Shop (see above), Karen says ‘it was hot, but very funny and definitely worth it!’

Away from theJoanne Ashworth Fundraising Office we have six charity shops across Wirral; Claughton, Heswall, Liscard, Moreton, New Brighton and West Kirby. Each of these shops need on average twenty five volunteers per week to operate fully. This army of volunteers receive donations, organise and arrange stock, clean, tidy and decorate the shops along with greeting and selling to customers. Volunteers in these shops love to see what treasures have been donated, some of the largest being a 1980s trailer tent and a 1960s pram.  Sometimes we get some very unusual donations which cause a bit of a buzz among the retail team; often these rare beauties are taken back to the fundraising office to be listed on our ebay shop.

Along 03with volunteers who come into the Hospice and shops regularly we also have volunteers who come to our fundraising events and stalls to assist with tombolas, raffles, selling goods & refreshments etc.  Each event is different and there are many funny stories of wild British weather, or crazy fashion shows and fancy gala dinners. Behind many events there is a great deal of cake, and where we have refreshment stalls we have cakes lovingly baked for the Hospice by our baking volunteers who are called upon before an event to see if they are free to get cooking.  These donated cakes not only keep our refreshment stalls well stocked but provide great variety to each event, as there is always a different flavour available from the classic Victoria sponge to marmalade and butterscotch.

Our wonderful volunteers make the Hospice what it is today, whether they are in fundraising raising money, helping with the running of the hospice, serving refreshments in the Hub Café or supporting patients & their families, without their dedication and support the Hospice would struggle to exist.  We always need more volunteers and are looking for;

  • Fundraising Office Reception volunteer on Wednesday afternoons 1-4
  • Charity shop volunteers
  • Ebay volunteers

If you would like to join the fundraising team please call 0151 343 0778 or email jacintaw@wirralhospice.org and we will be able to provide you with more information on what opportunities are available.

Meet our models #5: Maxine Macpherson #hospice #fashion #show

wirral_hospice_fashion_show_maxine_elle_macphersonFacilities Administrator, Maxine Ashton, will be strutting her stuff along with all our other models at our fashion show with a twist on tonight.  This afternoon she took the time to answer the questions put to some of our other Hospice Supermodels earlier this week.

What are you most looking forward to on the night?

Ok, small spoiler here, but I’m looking forward to my Halloween outfit, my son was born on Halloween and we take Halloween very seriously at Ashton HQ.

Do you know what you are going to be wearing?

Unfortunately I haven’t seen anything yet, but I have heard about some of the themes and outfits on show and I am very intrigued!

Our models are all members of hospice staff – who do you think is your greatest competition?

Hang on I didn’t realise this was a competition – eep!

What are you most nervous about?

Falling over in my heels – it’s a worry that’s keeping me up at night.

How are you preparing for the night?

I’ve been timing myself getting dressed – got to prepare for those quick changes between outfits.

What music are you hoping will play when you debut on the catwalk?

I would love something a bit different, you know.. Slipknot or Metallica, something like that would be good.

What are you demanding for your dressing room?

Yes I know, its very divalike, but if everything could be left hand friendly that would be perfect.

Have you perfected your autograph yet, you are going to need it?

No, not yet – I’ll get practising soon!

Finally what do you think of the likeness that has been drawn between yourself and Elle Macpherson?

Er… I’m very flattered, but there’s not much!


 If you want to see Maxine and the rest of our models strut their stuff at Heswall Hall on Friday 26th September, call 0151 343 0788 or visit one of our Hospice Charity Shops to buy your tickets.  

Author: Jacinta Warwick

Meet our models #4: Teresa Moss #hospice #fashion #show

wirral_hospice_fashion_show_teresa_kate_mossOur fourth Hospice Supermodel to share her thoughts about Friday’s fashion show is Teresa Nightingale – Head of Fundraising who can’t wait to get out there onto the catwalk.

What are you most looking forward to on the night?

I’m really looking forward to falling over in front of all those people… it’s going to be amazing… really.

Do you know what you are going to be wearing?

No idea, the descriptions I have heard have already terrified me

Our models are all members of hospice staff – who do you think is your greatest competition?

If I’m honest, all of them, they are all at least 3 ½ feet taller than me.

What are you most nervous about?

I’m really nervous about not walking in time to the music, it will be so cringy if I am out of sync.

How are you preparing for the night?

I will be staying up until 3am the night before, just like all real supermodels do.

What music are you hoping will play when you debut on the catwalk?

I don’t know about what I hope they’ll play – it just better not be ‘Nelly the Elephant’!

What are you demanding for your dressing room?

Nando’s and some hunky male models – how else am I supposed to get ready?

Have you perfected your autograph yet? You are going to need it!

Of course I have, can’t be signing peoples t-shirts, autograph books etc. with a rubbish signature!

Finally what do you think of the likeness that has been drawn between yourself and Kate Moss?

I taught her all I know and that’s all I’m saying on the matter.


If you want to see Teresa and the rest of our models strut their stuff at Heswall Hall on Friday 26th September, call 0151 343 0788 or visit one of our Hospice Charity Shops to buy your tickets.  

Author: Jacinta Warwick

 

 

 

Meet our models #3: Anna Christensen #hospice #fashion #show

wirral_hospice_fashion_show_anna_helena_christensenOur third interview is with Anna Menaul, Housekeeping Manager at Wirral Hospice St John’s; she was very excited when asked for an interview and can’t wait for Friday. where she hopes to be queen of the stage.

What are you most looking forward to on the night?

Donning my top hat, that is going to be amazing.

Do you know what you are going to be wearing?

I know what I am wearing on my bottom half… I haven’t been told about the top… that’s worrying me.

Our models are all members of hospice staff – who do you think is your greatest competition?

I think they are all effortless, it is going to be tough keeping up to their high standard

What are you most nervous about?

Falling over, I know everyone says it but definitely falling over.

How are you preparing for the night?

I’m popping on my super high heels all night every night, it’s been like I’ve been standing on a slope for weeks now.

What music are you hoping will play when you debut on the catwalk?

Something 70’s and funky, you know, like the Bee Gees.

 What are you demanding for your dressing room?

Chocolates, loads of chocolate and a hot masseuse for my poor feet afterwards.

Have you perfected your autograph yet?  You are going to need it!

No! I hadn’t thought of that – I’ll get practising.

Finally what do you think of the likeness that has been drawn between yourself and Helena Christensen?

Just one thing – I wish.


If you want to see Anna and the rest of our models strut their stuff at Heswall Hall on Friday 26th September, call 0151 343 0788 or visit one of our Hospice Charity Shops to buy your tickets.  

Author: Jacinta Warwick

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