40 Faces of hospice care – 7 – Meet Joyce Smith, volunteer and supporter

Categories: People & Places.

While Joyce has been a much-loved volunteer since 1993, her support for St Barnabas started a few years earlier.

When a colleague was diagnosed with cancer and cared for by the Hospice, Joyce visited regularly. And it started her brain ticking, thinking about what she could do to support St Barnabas. Around the same time, Joyce spotted our appeal for help to raise money to build an Inpatient Unit on Nettleham Road in Lincoln.

She took on the challenge to walk over hot coals, a Moonwalk, three London marathons, several halves and many netball tournaments later, and Joyce had found her fundraising feet – quite literally! And in 1990, her dedication was recognised when her employer Marconi nominated Joyce for a British Empire Medal for raising so much money for good causes.

Not one to rest on her laurels – or rest at all, it seems, her father’s passing in 1992 from cancer prompted Joyce to respond to St Barnabas’ advert asking for Hospice at Home volunteers. She was one of the first to take on the role, and 15 years later, when the initiative ended, Joyce was one of the last in post. Despite working full-time, she’d visit patients in their homes every week, sitting and chatting, playing cards, taking them shopping and helping with anything they needed. All her efforts made a real difference to the patients, and it was obvious how much Joyce enjoyed it too.

Joyce then went on to join our volunteer companion scheme. And before long, she was spending most Saturdays at our Inpatient Unit in Lincoln too, taking patients their meals, keeping them topped up with tea and taking the time to chat.

While the Inpatient Unit underwent an extensive renovation in 2022, Joyce volunteered at our flagship charity shop The Warehouse in Lincoln, to sort donations. It came about quite by chance when Joyce visited and noticed how busy the team was. When she found out they could do with a hand, she put herself forward straightaway. Little did she know she was soon to be reunited with an old work colleague; Jane, one of the Warehouse team, who used to work with Joyce at Marconi. In fact, Joyce was Jane’s manager. Today roles have reversed – it’s a good job Joyce was a fair boss!

In her own words…

“St Barnabas is part of my life now. I’m so passionate about it – I live, breathe and talk about it all the time. I don’t see my involvement ending. I like to think I’ll still be helping in some way when I’m in my eighties.”

To see all 40 Faces and their stories, please visit: https://stbarnabashospice.co.uk/40faces


ehospice UK edition, Editors Note:

This is the seventh in a series of 40 articles celebrating the founders, staff members, volunteers and supporters who have helped contribute to the vital care St Barnabas Hospice, Lincoln, provides to those living with a life-limiting or terminal illness and their families. 

These stories will find parallels across all other hospices around the UK. If you wish to share your news/stories/blogs then please send them to info@ehospice.com. 

To register for the weekly ehospice newsletter which brings together stories from around the world please go to: https://ehospice.com/register/


St Barnabas Hospice is a local independent charity, and every year they support more than 10,500 people across Lincolnshire.

They deliver free, high-quality, compassionate end-of-life care and support to people living with a life-limiting or terminal illness, their family and carers.

St Barnabas offers the patient and their family hospice care and support via: specialist inpatient care, care at home, day therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, complementary therapy, welfare advice and bereavement support.

All the services are free. St Barnabas needs to raise over £6m a year to provide its support and care. Over 900 volunteers play a crucial role in the charity’s success.


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