Hospice Care Week: How Lego and Michael Jordan sunglasses can make a difference
- Credit: Archant
Continuing our five-day series as part of Hospice Care Week, today we look at the role of Andrew Lally, online retail manager at St Helena Hospice in Essex.
Like many of the staff and volunteers, Andrew had very personal reasons for starting as a volunteer in early 2016.
“My mother, Christine, passed away in the hospice a couple of years before and I was really touched by the whole ethos of the place,” he said. “She was treated with real respect. She was resistant to going into the hospice, but when she was finally admitted, as we walked from the front doors to the ward every member of staff greeted her with a smile and hello.
“She walked into a warm room that was green and welcoming. For the first time in a year she smiled, looked up and said ‘why didn’t I come here sooner?’ That’s why I did it, having watched the care and attention she received.”
After six months as a volunteer, Andrew joined the online team and is now the manager.
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“From the first hour I spent here I knew this was what I had to do,” he said. “Everyone I work with is doing it for the same reasons. We are all here because we want to give something back.”
Andrew’s role involves finding buyers for unusual or specialist items donated to one of the hospice’s shops.
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“If I’m excited about something I know that someone else somewhere will be,” he said. “I say to people that if they open a box and their first thought is ‘I used to have one of those when I was a child’ then they should bring it to me because it will make money.”
When someone anonymously donated a pair of Michael Jordan sunglasses, the research skills of Andrew and his team found they were a limited edition pair worth £1,250.
“We share our knowledge so people from the warehouse who know about pottery will come in and say that’s an Alfred Meakin piece or there’s some Denby pottery,” he said. “One of the guys brought in a suitcase full of action man stuff, and the contents made £250 because I knew which parts were valuable. If I see lots of Lego, I know which particular sets or genres will be worth something.
“I’m a bit obsessed but it’s so important to me. What we do matters. It’s the compassion and empathy that people working for the hospice have that drives me. I saw kindness, dignity and respect in action and I try to bring that to work every single day.”