A Volunteer's Story

Jeff Woods

"If you see the sign seeking Volunteers, please think about it."
"You will be amazed how satisfying being part of the team can be."


Jeff Wood's story. He is a volunteer in Mitchelstown.

After living in Africa for nearly 50 years, for several sad reasons, my wife and I had to find another home and having once spent a delightful holiday in Ireland we were delighted when we were lucky enough to find a permanent home in Kingston College, Mitchelstown.

Having had a successful career in banking I retired and one of my pursuits in retirement was to help administer a very nice home for elderly people who wanted to spend their closing years in peace and security.

It was a wrench to leave literally everything behind and arrive in Ireland with a few pieces of furniture but we had the comfort of knowing we had a roof over our heads for the rest of our lives courtesy of the Trustees of the Kingston College Trust.

We arrived in Mitchelstown virtually knowing no one but we were overwhelmed by the friendliness of the people and their desire to make us welcome. and to do what they could for us with advice and also by giving us material items for our rather bare new home. My wife and I were sometimes embarrassed with our good fortune and we often discussed how we could somehow or other reciprocate.

In our search for bits and pieces we haunted the two Charity Shops in Mitchelstown and were amazed at the quality and the price of the wide range of things on offer. We were made very welcome by the Manageress of the Sue Ryder shop and eventually we were telling her our story. We in turn made a point of learning about the Sue Ryder Foundation and the principles were so like those with which I had been involved in Africa that when I saw the notice calling for Volunteers I realised that this was a pleasurable way for me to put something back in to the community and to do something to support people like my wife and I who also needed a haven for their remaining years. I offered my services and am pleased to say I was a accepted. The range of tasks I am asked to undertake vary from cleaning to selling and ticketing goods; nothing too strenuous but very interesting. 

Besides putting something back into the community my wife and I found that the residents soon were stopping to talk to us making us feel so very much at home and really part of the community. I have had the opportunity to make some suggestions at the shop that have been adopted since the Foundation is forward looking and I like that. I have found that offering my services has filled a bit of a void in my life and I get job satisfaction from the little that I do.

Because the shop is a friendly place it has a regular clientele and also the people in the district are so generous in what they bring for us to sell for the benefit of the Sue Ryder Foundation's objectives. Some people have reservations about visiting Charity shops but the quality of what we have to offer is amazing and at the end of the day everybody is happy.

It is joy to be involved and whilst I put something in I get a lot of satisfaction from being of service and playing a small part in the fund raising which makes the activities of the Sue Ryder Foundation possible not only here in Ireland but also throughout the world. 

If you see the sign seeking Volunteers, please think about it. You will be amazed how satisfying being part of the team can be. I am 74 years of age so don't let your age be an obstacle to joining us.