Longest serving volunteer opens new hospice shop in its milestone anniversary year

Categories: Care and People & Places.
L-R: Tina Swani, Nancy Byrne, shop manager Helen Davenport

A dedicated volunteer has officially opened Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice’s latest shop coinciding with the charity’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Nancy Byrne has been volunteering at the Hospice for 40 years, ever since it opened its doors and cared for its first patient in March 1979.

Nancy is a familiar face to many patients, family members and loved ones who have visited Birmingham St Mary’s over the years, as she is best known for welcoming people on reception.

Before the hospice opened, she was part of the original ‘Friends of St Mary’s Fundraising Group’ that helped raised the £358k needed to open the hospice. She then decided to volunteer because she’s a “people’s person who enjoys helping others”.

Over the past four decades, Nancy has supported with general admin work, driven patients to-and-from the Day Hospice and volunteered on reception – roles that she has enjoyed doing because “it’s a privilege to help people at a time when they need it most”.

To recognise her outstanding commitment to the hospice – and to celebrate the first Birmingham St Mary’s shop to open during its 40th anniversary year – Nancy was invited to officially cut the ribbon at the store. She commented:

“Birmingham St Mary’s has been a big part of my life over the last 40 years and so I feel really proud to come to Northfield today and officially open its latest shop. I remember when the hospice opened its first-ever shop in Selly Park back in 1985, so it’s wonderful to see how far our shops have come since, with many more having been opened across our city and beyond.”

Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice was founded by former NHS matron Monica Pearce, whose mission was to “enable anyone with a life-limiting illness to live their life to the full” – a statement that the hospice’s staff and volunteers still stand by today. When the hospice first opened, it could care for just 25 people on any given day. Four decades later the hospice is supporting over 400 people every day, providing care in people’s homes, in the community, and at the hospice itself.

The charity’s shops provide a vital source of income. In the last 12 months, the hospice has launched four new shops, with this one being its 17th retail store. 

Tina Swani, chief executive at Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, was also present at the opening. She said:

“Thank you so much to Nancy for coming down today to officially launch our Northfield shop. Volunteering for 40 years is an outstanding commitment and we are so grateful for all her support over the years.

“I would also like to thank everyone who came to the opening today. Our shops provide a crucial source of income for the hospice – in fact, generous shoppers help raise over £1.5 million of the £8 million needed every year to run our vital services. That money goes a long way in supporting people to live well with life-limiting illness.”

 For more information visit Birmingham St Mary’s

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *