Volunteer steps down after volunteering at Saint Francis Hospice for 31 years

PUBLISHED: 16:25 12 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:25 12 January 2018

Evelyn looking over memories with Gill Wendelken, Voluntary Services Manager

Evelyn looking over memories with Gill Wendelken, Voluntary Services Manager


A resident has spent over 30 years working at the hospice that cared for her husband’s step-mother - and she hasn’t taken a penny for her time.

Evelyn with staff on IPU on Christmas Day Evelyn with staff on IPU on Christmas Day

Evelyn Dalton has carried out numerous tasks for Saint Francis Hospice over the years, from raising funds, acting as a spokeswoman on open days and volunteering on the inpatient unit.

In fact, before the hospice opened its doors to patients more than 33 years ago, she helped raise vital funds for the charity in its early days and presented it with its first electric wheelchair

Alongside her regular voluntary duties, Evelyn, along with her family and members of South West Essex and Settlement Reform Synagogue, where she is vice president, has volunteered on the inpatient unit every Christmas Day to serve patients their meals

Now she is stepping down to spend more time with her partner Jerry Bernstein and her family and indulge her love of theatre and travel.

“I stayed so long because I loved working here and I am so glad I have been able to do it,” said Evelyn, who turns 80 in January and has three children and six grandchildren.

“So much has happened over the years.

“I remember setting up a hair salon in what was then known as the day unit.

“We had students from a local college and qualified hairdressers who came in and we used to look after them.”

In 1986 Evelyn’s connection to the hospice became personal when her husband’s step-mother was a patient and this inspired her to start volunteering on the inpatient unit the following year before going on to become a volunteer co-ordinator.

In the early days, the organisation was much smaller and Evelyn was also involved in other areas of the hospice’s work, including raising awareness of the specialist care and support services it provides to the community.

“When I first came to the hospice there were only 10 beds and I used to help with the open days,” she said.

In 2012, Evelyn proudly received the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Help the Hospices Conference in Manchester for “helping make things happen.”

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