Seaford Community Shop volunteer, Christine Bartholomew-Jones, has always had a strong connection with St Wilfrid’s Hospice. It was her mother’s wish to be at the hospice when she died seven years ago, however, her sudden death meant that this wasn’t possible.

Five years later, her father was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Christine cared for him at home, with additional help from St Wilfrid’s Care at Home Team, before he moved to the Inpatient Unit two weeks before he died.

‘I was really pleased with the care he received,’ she told us. ‘It was tough, but both myself and my dad received a great deal of support. Dr David Barclay and the rest of the team were brilliant, and I would often go to the Carers Get Together that was held in the hospice. It was like a community group, and it helped knowing that I wasn’t the only one and we could support each other.

‘I also had bereavement counselling afterwards,’ she continued. ‘I think I was quite overwhelmed with Mum’s death being so sudden and then Dad dying too. Kev Elliot, one of the Bereavement Support Workers, helped me to talk it all through. He was a lovely man and it really helped me a lot.’

Christine

Christine has since supported the hospice by becoming a volunteer. In 2019 she started helping out in the shop inside the hospice, but when the hospice closed to the general public as a result of the pandemic, she moved to the Community Shop in Seaford.

‘I began volunteering for the shop because as I had stopped working to care for my Dad, I was left with nothing to fill my time,’ she said. ‘I enjoyed volunteering at the hospice because I could empathise with those who were visiting patients or had lost a loved one themselves.

‘After the first lockdown I moved to the Seaford shop. I knew that Carla, the Community Shop Manager there, needed some help, so I was pleased to lend a hand. I’m now training to be what they call a “key volunteer”, which means I can run the shop when Carla is away.’

St Wilfrid's Community Shop in Seaford

Volunteering is not the only way Christine has supported the hospice though, as she has also written it into her will that anything left over after she dies goes to St Wilfrid’s. But with it in mind that the hospice needs funds right now after such a tough year, she made the decision to make a large donation now.

She explained: ‘After my mum died I inherited all her jewellery – pieces my dad had given her and others she had inherited from his mother. I wear a couple of her rings, but the rest of it was just sitting in a box. In my will I have asked that anything that is left over after I die goes to St Wilfrid’s, but I thought the hospice needs the money now rather than in 30-40 years’ time, so I asked Carla to get the jewellery valued and she was able to get £500 for it!’

Carla said: ‘When Christine came to me with the jewellery and said that she wanted to donate it to the hospice somehow, I was more than happy to help because I knew how much it meant to her. We have a lovely gentleman that often comes in from Crown Antiques in Eastbourne. He used to volunteer when we had a shop in Langley Road and very much continues to support the hospice, so I was pleased that he could value the jewellery for us.’

Christine’s gesture is incredibly kind, and we are so grateful for her generosity. The money that she was able to get from the jewellery will make a huge difference; £400 covers the cost of a day care for a patient on the Inpatient Unit, while £100 could pay for a Nurse for the day, so every penny truly does count!

Thank you, Christine!


Our Retail team are always looking for volunteers to lend a hand in our Community Shops, Superstore and Donation Centre. If you have some time to spare and would like to make a difference in your local community, we would love to hear from you. Contact our Voluntary Services Team at [email protected] or call 01323 434200.