English Teacher, Jill Burton has been nominated as a Huish Hero after volunteering at St Margaret’s Hospice in her spare time around her ongoing virtual teaching commitments. The Huish Hero initiative at Richard Huish College celebrates those students and staff who are going above and beyond to support their community during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Having completed her training with the hospice in late 2019, Jill became a ward volunteer in a limited capacity. However since the current pandemic began, she has committed to two mornings per week, during the wards busiest times.

As a Ward Volunteer, she helps the phenomenal nurses and HGAs with the provision and clearing up of patient drinks, snacks and main meals, as well as ensuring they have anything they need. During the lockdown she has also been helping with the increased challenge of keeping the wards sterile and providing plenty of conversation in times of increased isolation.

Jill explains; “the hospice works on the basis that keeping the patients hydrated and eating whatever they can manage is a top priority, as well as all the specialised treatment they receive. The chefs are amazing at producing appetising meals for patients who are often undergoing treatment that makes eating difficult”.

Largely funded by donations, the charity is continually combating financial strain but is under increased pressure during the current pandemic. Many of the wonderful, regular volunteers have been forced to take a step back for their own safety, finding themselves part of a vulnerable group or wishing to protect their families. Jill commented “The volunteer rota has dwindled significantly at the moment. I can say that it is a real privilege to volunteer there; the nurses and staff are doing everything to ensure that it is still a wonderful place for the patients; the special atmosphere of calm and positivity is unaffected”.

If you would like to support St Margaret’s Hospice you can find out about volunteering or get involved in their fundraising projects at https://www.st-margarets-hospice.org.uk/. This may involve growing or colouring in sunflowers, getting involved in National Walking Month (https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/virtual-challenge-20) or joining the Great Somerset G&T Party!