Maureen Hajdu runs a charitable trust that was set up by her father nearly 50 years ago to provide financial support to postdoctoral scientists undertaking a medical degree to pursue research projects. But every Friday morning she can be found behind the till in North London Hospice’s Muswell Hill shop. Maureen is one of 450 volunteers who support the work of the hospice.
“It’s a role I take very seriously, and I love the people I work with and meet,” says Maureen, who has just celebrated her 25th year as one of the hospice’s army of helpers.
The mum of two and grandmother of four began volunteering at the Muswell Hill shop just three months after it opened, 25 years ago – and she’s rarely missed a shift! “I go in every Friday morning from 10 to 1.30 and,apart from a couple of weeks of holiday, I’ve hardly ever had a day off!”
As a charity, North London Hospice relies on the support of its volunteers to provide its services, which provide specialist palliative and end of life care to more than 3,500 patients and their families each year in the boroughs of Barnet, Enfield, and Haringey.
Maureen, who’s been a resident of Muswell Hill for 47 years, is among the hospice’s longest serving volunteers, and to mark her 25th anniversary she was presented with flowers and a certificate: “I am very conscientious: I’ve done a bit of everything over the years but am now mainly on the till and on the shop floor. It never fails to amaze me how much money the 17 shops raise to support the hospice, when you consider the average price of an item is £4.50, we provide almost a million pounds in income each year to support patient care.”
“It’s not my profession and people often ask me why I choose to work in a charity shop when I have a busy working life already. It’s very different from my day job. It’s very sociable work, my manager is fabulous, and I have no responsibilities. I do my shift and I leave, but I really feel attached to the hospice and it’s a nice feeling to know we are supporting this wonderful organisation.”
There are many volunteering opportunities at North London Hospice. If you can spare a few hours regularly you could support North London Hospice’s retail team, fundraisers, patients and their families. Full training provided. Visit the ‘work for us’ section to see opportunities here