To mark national Volunteers Week, reporter GEMMA SHERLOCK talks to WENDY GRAHAM, one of CancerCare’s longest serving volunteers.
For Wendy Graham volunteering is ‘what anybody would do’ but when she received recognition from the Queen she realised there may be more to it.
Wendy has devoted nearly 20 years of her life to the CancerCare charity.
Her volunteer work has seen her raise thousands of pounds over the years, helping out in various activities including cross bay walks, fairs and coffee mornings.
In recognition of her services to volunteering in the community the 68-year-old was invited to attend a garden party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, where the Queen and other members of the Royal family honoured guests.
It was a special day as it was also a perfect way for Wendy to celebrate her birthday with her partner Cliff Kilshaw.
Wendy said: “I don’t do anymore than anybody else, that is why it was such an honour to be recognised.
“I felt quite humble really because many people have done much more.
“To be in the palace it felt very regal, the Queen was right in front of me. It was a beautiful experience.”
Wendy, who lives in Halton, is also a volunteer for Lancaster Footlights theatre group and a member of square dancing group, the Lune Valley Ocean Wavers.
But she insists CancerCare is her priority and decided to join as a volunteer after her sister sadly lost her battle to a rare type of cancer 19 years ago.
Elaine Hearne was diagnosed with Carcinoid syndrome and passed away in January 1997 at the age of 45.
Ever since Wendy has been determined to give back to the charity who helped her sister from diagnosis to her final moments.
Wendy said: “Elaine was not only my sister but my best friend. I took a picture of her with me to the palace.
“I’m here because they cared and I care about giving back. I want people to have the support and care we did.
“This place is like a sanctuary, not a place to hide but somewhere where someone understands, we didn’t know the half of Elaine’s symptoms but she wanted to protect us. CancerCare gave her the positive outlook, she knew she couldn’t fight it but she was going to give it her best shot.
“For what they gave to Elaine, if I can’t give a few minutes of my time then I am not worth being here.”
CancerCare have described Wendy as one of their “biggest supporters” and Wendy hopes more people can benefit from the charity like she has.