Hattie’s volunteering story
"I studied German at university so I ended up living in Berlin in the 1980’s. When I came back to the UK I worked as the London correspondent to a German pop magazine (lots of asking boy bands what they eat for breakfast!) After that I worked as the in-house comedy writer for Comic Relief, while scribbling my first novel. I’m just getting stuck into my third book – and keeping myself afloat by copywriting for various charities.
"I have been a meditation volunteer with Pembridge Hospice for over five years now. The most rewarding part of my role is, undoubtedly, the lovely people I get to be around – both colleagues and patients. They’ve all got a well-honed sense of humour and somehow there’s a lot of joy here. Most challenging is when one of the patients who you’ve come to care about, inevitably, dies.
"There are many precious moments at the hospice but I think my favourite is the very simple games we play – mostly for hand/eye coordination. Our unlikely little yellow Poundland ball gives us all a huge amount of pleasure – and laughter.
"I have learnt much about myself whilst volunteering here, mainly listening – properly. I’m pretty impatient by nature, so I’m slowly getting the hang of just sitting and being present when patients are talking – instead of trying to fix them (which clearly isn’t going to work anyway)
"For anyone who has thought about volunteering, I would say: just do it, You’ll surprise yourself, not only with much you learn, but how much it makes your heart sing."