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Volunteers from St Cuthbert’s Hospice shop in Houghton le Spring, took time out to mark National Volunteers Week at the town library today.

Josie Watson, of West Rainton and Beryl Common, of Hetton le Hole, spoke to a succession of people about joining St Cuthbert’s Hospice’s army of 360 volunteers.

Josie said: “We’ve had some really good conversations today. All kinds of people are interested. I think Houghton le Spring is very community orientated and people want to stay active and keep their brains active too.

“There are all sorts of roles. If not for volunteering at the hospice shop, I’d be just at home watching the television on a wet day like today. But I get up and get dressed, put my make-up on and come out and I meet people and do it for a worthy cause. I’ve got arthritis. It keeps you mobile. You can just vegetate at home, otherwise.”

She said the hospice, which holds its fundraising Midnight Walk on June 21st, provides training programmes and an induction course for its volunteers.

As well as elderly people, younger people who want to supplement their CVs also regularly join up.

Beryl said: “I moved to Hetton le Hole from Sunderland and I didn’t know anyone. Now, I know so many people. People come to the shop for a natter and a bit of company. It’s a community in itself.”

And she added: “People sometimes think it’s going to be a big commitment but really you can do as little as a couple of hours a week. It’s just starting something new that can be difficult – but this is really worthwhile.”

Anyone interested in joining St Cuthbert’s Hospice as a volunteer can drop in at the shop in Houghton le Spring town centre or visit the volunteering section of the hospice website at or contact the hospice on 0191 386 1170.

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