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Volunteers at Martin House children’s hospice mark 25th anniversary
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, with volunteers from Martin House children’s hospice at Boston Spa
DEDICATED volunteers whose work at a Yorkshire children’s hospice brings light into the lives of youngsters with terminal illnesses are marking its 25th anniversary.
Founded in 1987, Martin House Hospice at Boston Spa was the only one of its kind in the north at the time, and now cares for about 500 children each year.
To commemorate its silver anniversary, its 150-strong team of volunteers, including members of the Order of the Holy Paraclete in Whitby who support the charity, were invited to tea parties held by the Archbishop of York at Bishopthorpe Palace, his official residence.
Dr John Sentamu yesterday congratulated the first group for their work and dedication and he will welcome more today.
Volunteer Carol Spratt, from Leeds, who works in the kitchen, said: “The children say it’s the best holiday camp in the world. We have a lot of fun baking and cooking and a wonderful reputation for food, and the children find it so therapeutic. My days there are the best of the week and I will keep going there for a long as I can.”
Nicky Dunning, of Walkington, near Beverley – who credits Dr Sentamu with helping him rediscover his faith following the death of his daughter, Helen – has been a volunteer fundraiser throughout the hospice’s life and said: “It’s a wonderful, caring place and an honour to be involved because the children are fantastic.
“They should not be in the situation they are in, and to meet them and their families is a very humbling experience.”
The hospice was formed by the Archdeacon of York, the Venerable Richard Seed, who was then the vicar of Boston Spa, who said: “It has always aimed to have a family atmosphere, and that is due to the dedicated staff and volunteers who make the hospice like an extended family rather than an institution - I’m hugely proud of what it has done and continues to do.”
Dr Sentamu said: “If Martin House didn’t exist, we would have to invent it – every time I go there, I come away feeling such love, care and compassion, and the children give you so much energy.
“All the volunteers are incredible because, without them, none of this would happen.”