My history with volunteering in general goes back for over 40 years. I started when I was in my teens and carried on all throughout my working life. About eight years ago I had plenty of time on my hands and by coincidence I saw an advert for a Macmillan Volunteer Cancer Information Reviewer.
This really appealed to me because I was still working at the time and I knew I’d be able to fit in the role around my job. I started with the Information Reviewer role and I loved being part of the Macmillan volunteer family. It snowballed, in a really great way, to the point where now I’m retired and I enjoy spending lots of my time volunteering for Macmillan.
'It's the little things you do that have a big impact.'
I enjoy doing a lot for Macmillan and I’d say to other people thinking of becoming a volunteer, you can give as much time as you choose to. Some people volunteer once a year at our London Marathon cheerpoints, and some people are giving their time every week – every bit of volunteering is worthwhile.
'Some of the people I was partnered with are now friends.'
I love seeing the difference volunteering makes. It’s the little things you do as a volunteer that have a big impact for people. Just having a chat with my Macmillan Buddy really helps them, especially if they feel like they are burdening their families with their worries or concerns. You can just be a listening ear and often people feel better when they have voiced their emotions. Some of the people I was partnered with for the Macmillan Buddies programme are friends now and we keep in touch to support each other.
As well as seeing the impact for others, volunteering with Macmillan has had a huge benefit to my own mental health and wellbeing as it has given me a sense of purpose. I learnt a long time ago that there are two things that drive me in life. The first is being happy, the second is making a difference. If I can make a difference then that keeps me fulfilled, it keeps me going. Macmillan is a safe place, a safe environment and there is always someone to speak to. Being a volunteer is a great way to support yourself and other people.