Volunteer aged 91 retires from service

Monday, 2 November 2015

It’s the end of an era for kitchen staff at The Prince of Wales Hospice as Friday volunteer, John Askew, finally hands back his apron after 20 years voluntary service.


John, 91, first started volunteering at the hospice after they cared for his wife, Gladys, in 1994. “I just wanted to be able to do my little bit to say thank you, they looked after my wife so well when she was here” said John.

John was regularly seen walking from Featherstone to go and volunteer and, in 2004, it became a real family affair as John’s daughter, Jean Hampson, joined him at the Hospice when she retired. Jill Evans, Catering Manager, said: “It’s going to be really strange in the kitchen without John. He’s been here that long, he seems part of the furniture!”

Volunteer Marlene Ward has worked with John over the last 15 years and will miss him fetching a warm drink for her every Friday morning. “When I come in to work in the offices on Fridays, it can be a bit cold in the winter time, but John always brought a hot drink. He is lovely, anything he can do to help he will. We are all going to miss him so much.” 

John’s no stranger to the royal treatment either, as last year’s Hospice trip to visit Clarence House made him only the second person in its history to celebrate their 90th birthday there; the last being the late Queen Mother. Not one for fuss, he didn’t mind getting to meet the team in the kitchens there as a special treat.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute and, if I had my way, I wouldn’t be retiring, it’s just my heart that’s stopping me carrying on,” says John. “The Hospice is an important place for me and my family.”

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