In my 22nd year at Demelza I still marvel at the input of our amazing volunteers. There are literally thousands of people who have volunteered at Demelza over the years. Their tireless energy and generosity of spirit brings a wealth of skills, talents and kindness that adds to the sense of #TeamDemelza that we all know and love.

My standout moments? Oh, my goodness, so, so many!

The visit of the Countess of Wessex in 2005.The Countess spoke to every volunteer present at an afternoon tea and was presented to the youngest and oldest volunteer on our books at the that time, Daniel Gambell and Ivy Chapman – that was a proud moment. We had volunteers from our friends’ groups, from our shops, the garden and in-house. One of our young people presented her flowers which he had rehearsed incessantly for weeks. The Countess asked the young person to help her pull the curtain on a plaque – he couldn’t smile as he hadn’t rehearsed it, but he gave a flawless performance!!

Receiving The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2012 was quite a moment too. The Queen’s Award is the MBE for voluntary groups and it was awarded to our Demelza volunteers in the year of the Her Majesty the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It meant so much to have their contribution recognised formally.

But my real stand out moments are thinking about the difference our volunteers make. I can’t name them and some of them would be upset if I did; but the lady who irons for hours on end to make sure every child and family has beautifully laundered bed linen; the lady who makes sure every donor gets an accurate and timely thank you letter (a role she has done for many years); the man who works in our bereavement team and has a wealth of expertise to offer not just to our families but to staff and other volunteers.

There are also the Trustees who bring their skills and expertise to the governance of Demelza; those who work hour-after-hour providing meals in our hospices, create beautiful gardens for everyone to enjoy; those who fundraise for us, attend events and raise profile and money; those who work direct with the families, particularly those who drive hundreds of miles in a week to get children and families to the places they need to be.

And let’s not forget those who answer our phones, count the donations, those who paint and help our facilities team and to those who work many hours in our shops providing a good customer experience and raising those vital funds.

The list is truly endless and the difference is every single volunteer. Without them Demelza would not be the place it is today, providing the services it does to children and families who need us.

An enormous thank you to every single volunteer, past, present and future. Throughout Volunteers’ Week we will be hosting a range of events to celebrate and thank our volunteers and we look forward to seeing #TeamDemelza (virtually) during the week.

- Lavinia Jarrett