The Volunteer of the Year award is given in recognition of the dedication and commitment made by an individual to their local hospice or palliative care organisation.
This award incorporates volunteers of all ages.
The winner has been announced at the Hospice UK National Conference.
Winner - 2023
Jess Sheridan, Dorothy House Hospice
Volunteers are the lifeblood of hospices and without their support many hospices would struggle to provide the excellent services they do. We are delighted to acknowledge Jess Sheridan, volunteer at Dorothy House Hospice as Hospice UK’s Volunteer of the Year.
19-year-old Jess is a Young People’s Ambassador for Dorothy House Hospice who shows remarkable commitment using her personal experience to champion the hospice’s work. She supports children from local schools talking with them about her experience of grief and bereavement.
By describing the catastrophic effect of losing her mum as a teenager and its impact on her academic career and her personal life, Jess has been able to offer advice to other bereaved young people, acting as a role model and helping them to connect and support each other.
As Young People’s Ambassador for the hospice Jess has taken opportunities to speak to the Mayor of Bath about her work, and the Daily Mail about her experience of childhood bereavement and her role.
The Awards Panel, who were unanimous in their selection, commented: “We are thrilled and moved to recognise Jess’s achievement on becoming a Young Ambassador. Thank you, Jess, for your dedication and hard work.”
What the judges were looking for
- Why is this person being nominated?
- How many years have they been volunteering?
- What is the impact of their commitment locally, nationally and internationally – where this is relevant.
Find out more about previous winners of the Volunteer of the Year Award.
Winner - 2022
Hospiscare Exeter: Mary Bolshaw
Mary’s nomination for Volunteer of the Year stood out to the judges for both the dedication and breadth of her service as a volunteer for Hospiscare, and Chair of Honiton and District Friends of Hospiscare.
Mary was a founding member of the Hospiscare family and has dedicated over 45 years to the charity. She has worked tirelessly to support the hospice in a huge variety of ways, from monthly coffee mornings to Christmas lunches, from volunteering at reception to driving patients to appointments, from providing and delivering home-cooked meals during Covid to organising afternoon teas.
Judges added, “the financial contribution of raising over £1.1 million is a huge achievement, but we were equally struck by how much time and energy she has poured into caring for her community through the hospice. We’re delighted to choose Mary Bolshaw for this award”.
Winner - 2021
Sheila Miller’s commitment to St Gemma’s Hospice, Leeds, is inspiring.
With over 20 years of volunteering, Sheila’s passion and commitment were evident, providing voluntary spiritual care, bereavement support, befriending and fundraising support - especially through the COVID period.
Sheila has been compassionate not only to patients and families receiving support at the hospice, but to her colleagues and support staff that needed to talk during difficult times.
Sheila’s thoughtfulness, including buying food and supplies for hospice staff during the height of the pandemic, is not to be understated.