It’s Volunteers Week

News and Blog

Happy Volunteers Week! 

Volunteers’ Week is an annual celebration from 1-7 June of the immense and positive contribution volunteers make across the UK in their communities. It’s a crucial week for us to step back and thank our incredible volunteers for all they do for us here at St Catherine’s.

We have recruited 315 new volunteers in the past year across the hospice, fundraising and retail. We now have over 780 active volunteers who each help us to deliver end-of-life and palliative care to our local community.

We have selected five of our fabulous volunteers, who each donate their time in a different area of the charity, to shine a spotlight on the positive impact our volunteers have on every facet of our special organisation.

We want to say a huge thank you for everything they do to help us get one step closer to our vision, where everyone can face death informed, supported and pain free. 

Helen Pointer, Hospice Art Volunteer

Helen Pointer is a fantastic artist and she has been volunteering at St Catherine’s Hospice since April 2014. Helen uses her talent to draw fun and insightful caricatures of our patients, volunteers and staff in the hospice.

Helen has a warm and natural way of putting people at ease, finding out more about them, to capture their personality and interests in her artwork. For people staying on the wards, her volunteering role is particularly poignant as Helen chats to them, finding out their interests, hobbies and skills, to incorporate into the caricature. The end piece of art is a wonderful keepsake of the personality, and the life, of that person. Helen’s visits help to bring a few moments of normality to people’s lives, and a chance for them to reminisce, share and laugh, which is such an important element of life within the hospice.

Angie Challis, Burstow Friends Group Chair and Volunteer LED Administrator


Angie has been a St Catherine’s volunteer for over 31 years! As part of her volunteering Angie has been Chair of the Burstow Friends of St Catherine’s Hospice Group, representing the hospice out in the community. Since 1988, Burstow Friends have raised nearly £418,000 for the hospice, many of those years have had Angie at the helm.

Angie also donates her time by volunteering with our Learning, Education and Development Team. She has volunteered with the People Team for since 2014 and her support has been invaluable.  Always reliable, her excellent Excel skills and her willingness to help with any task, mean she has supported the team in many different ways, from inputting data into the HR database to wrapping staff gifts for a staff raffle! Angie is known by many people at St Catherine’s and is a greatly valued member of the team.

Ann Dutton, Volunteer Spiritual Care Assistant & Volunteer Admin Assistant in Wellbeing

Ann Dutton is St Catherine’s Hospice longest serving volunteer. She started volunteering two weeks before our hospice first opened on Malthouse Road, in 1983, so this year marks her 40th year volunteering!

Ann generously fulfils two vital voluntary roles. The first as a Spiritual Care Assistant in St Catherine’s Spiritual Care Team. In this role Ann brings much needed comfort to local people. She spends time on St Catherine’s wards chatting to patients and their family and friends about anything they wish, and her conversations have ranged from football to faith!

Ann also provides crucial administration support to staff in St Catherine’s Wellbeing Team. She takes on any task needed without fuss or complaint and is a very valued colleague among the team.

Ann is very humble and unassuming and as our longest serving volunteer she was asked to unveil one of the new foundation stones at our new hospice at Pease Pottage in November last year, alongside our longest serving staff member, Jackie Chipps.

Dennis Murray, Volunteer Counsellor

Dennis has been a volunteer counsellor with St Catherine’s Hospice since April 2013. his volunteering has made a huge difference to many people.

Since he started volunteering, Dennis has provided around 1,900 counselling sessions and 480 assessments for counselling. Dennis was already an experienced qualified counsellor when he started volunteering with us and brought his expertise to people known to the hospice and those close to them. Since then, Dennis has undertaken additional training and gained supervision qualifications. He supervises and supports a group of volunteer counsellors including students who also volunteer their time and skills to support the hospice.

Dennis currently works with four St Catherine’s clients and is a safe, approachable volunteer. He provides sessions from the Horley Health Hub, a collaboration with the Horley Health Primary Care Network and enables patients to easily access face to face counselling from the hospice if they find it difficult to get to the Hospice itself. Dennis’ generosity in volunteering his time and experience is highly valued in the Wellbeing Team.

Connor Newham, Volunteer Shop Assistant

Connor has volunteered for over a year in our Dorking shop and in 2022 he won our Young Volunteer of the Year Award.

The focus of Connor’s attention is on the books and media in the shop. As a keen reader himself, Connor sorts the shelves and replenishes the books, the rare comics and the almanacs. He chooses non-fiction books wisely on his own initiative and shows them to the shop manager for approval before taking them to the shop floor. For the Queen’s Jubilee, Connor made a stunning display of books in our Dorking shop window, all related to British history, the monarchy, and the Queen. Thanks to him, the results are amazing. The book displays in the shop look fantastic, encouraging our customers to browse and, ultimately, leading to high book sales.