Mary Jenks was born in Kidderminster and grew up in Droitwich. When the idea of a hospice for Worcestershire was first raised, Mary went along to find out more and became a volunteer working in Jenny Bulman’s house in Droitwich but she had to give this up because she became a magistrate. By the late 1980s, Mary was at a point in her life when she needed a part time job, and discovered there was one going at St Richard’s, which had now moved to Castle Street. Mary started as secretary to fundraiser Liz Bevan, but soon swapped roles to become Volunteer Coordinator, a job which she held for the next 15 years. Mary loved her job and by all accounts, was a pivotal person during this period. Always calm but determined, she recruited, trained and looked after about 250 volunteers at any one time and says there was rarely a day when she couldn’t find a volunteer when one was needed, even at very short notice.
Mary says her first job with Liz Bevan was ‘the best job she’d ever had’. She loved Liz’s enthusiasm and energy and felt that she’d fallen on her feet at St Richard’s. So when the hospice needed a Volunteer Coordinator a few months later, Mary was the obvious choice. In this first extract, she talks about her diverse role and why she enjoyed it so much.
Mary’s role got busier when St Richard’s moved to Rose Hill as there was an even greater demand for volunteers. Two things made her job a little easier; firstly a computer donated by Barry Jenks whose late wife had been a hospice patient, and secondly a database created especially for the volunteers and paid for by guests at Mary’s wedding to Barry!
Among Mary’s claims to fame at the hospice is her starring role as ‘Mary the Fairy’ in a Christmas show to patients. In this short extract, she pays her own personal tribute to St Richard’s.