“I hope Geoff is looking down on me in his Paisley shirt belting it out on the karaoke as I walk from table to table.”

Jamie Williams and his family are no stranger to cancer and the impact if can have. The BAE worker recently lost his uncle Geoff to cancer and this is when he came into contact with St Mary’s Hospice. 

Geoff was a patient on the unit here at St Mary’s Hospice and Jamie got to experience first hand the work that goes on behind the scenes to care for patients. He said the care his uncle received was “second to none at such a difficult time for him and his close family and friends.” 

This is when Jamie decided to give back to the hospice by donating his time and volunteering. He explained: “Unfortunately, my family is no stranger to cancer and the wide impact it has. Recently, it claimed the young life of my uncle, Geoff.  

“He was a patient at St Mary’s before he sadly died. The care and treatment he received was second to none at such a difficult time for him and his close family and friends. 

“In Geoff’s honour, and to repay the efforts of the staff at St Mary’s I decided I would give something back for all they had given Geoff.” 

Jamie said he would “never be able to replicate the level of care and kindness St Mary’s and its staff gave in his last days”, but he was determined to help in any way he could. This is why he gives up his time to help in the Orangery Café. 

Jamie has been a member of the volunteering team for just over a year. His first shift was in February 2023 and he’s hoping his last won’t be for a very long time. Although, he jokes “it might be shorter than I’d like when the staff finally tire of correcting my mistakes on the till.” 

Speaking about how he first heard about St Mary’s, Jamie said: “St Mary’s has been a part of mine and my family’s life for a long time. I’ve known about it from a young age, initially because of terrible family events like when my Nana was a patient. 

“As I got older, I learned what a fantastic place it is. I moved away from associating it with tragedy and elected to focus on all the wonderful care it and its staff provide instead.” 

He continued: “I remember my first day at the Orangery and at the end of my shift I left thinking ‘give me building submarines over this any day’.  

“It’s hard work putting a shift in at a café. The effort the staff put in to provide wonderful food and service can’t be understated. Despite my tired legs, knowing I’m contributing to all the good work St Mary’s does fills me with a sense of pride and gratitude. I know I’m a small cog in a much bigger machine that provides so much help to those who are suffering. 

“I just hope Geoff is looking down on me in his Paisley shirt belting it out on the karaoke as I walk from table to table.” 

St Mary’s Hospice only receive a fifth of its funding from the NHS. This means the care of 8 out of 10 patients comes from funding in the community. This figure hits home just how much we rely on people like Jamie to donate their time and others in the community to fundraise. 

If you can’t spare your time to help volunteer at the hospice there are other ways you can help. You can sign up to regular giving or even leave us a gift in your will. No matter how big or small your efforts will make a huge difference to our patients, staff and the community.  

Jamie added: “If anyone is reading this and has any free time, even and hour a year, please consider offering it to help St Mary’s Hospice.  

“I promise you, you will get so much more out of it than you put in and the benefits of what you put in will be felt far beyond what you can imagine.” 

To find out more about volunteering or supporting St Mary’s Hospice, visit our website.