Volunteer complementary therapist Pat giving back to St Ann’s who cared for her mum

Pat Norris is a volunteer complementary therapist at St Ann’s Hospice. Pat has been volunteering in this role since Christmas, but before this has hosted coffee mornings to raise money for St Ann’s and has been a collector at other events.

By Sam Izard on May 28, 2024

Like many other people, Pat has a personal connection to her local hospice which is why she started volunteering. Pat says: “My mother was cared for by St Ann’s for a short while at the Heald Green site. This was during the pandemic, so there were lots of restrictions in place but St Ann’s were so good at letting me stay with my mum when I could.

“My mum found the care given to her incredible, and although she sadly passed away three years ago, it changed her life and my family’s life so much being connected to St Ann’s Hospice.

“I then got into a routine of raising money in different ways for the hospice, and attended the Autumn Fair last year. I met a complementary therapist when I was there and she gave me a hand massage. I explained to her that I knew about massage techniques as I had volunteered at the Christie previously. I had a friend with cancer who was involved with the Christie and enjoyed the complimentary therapy she received which is what got me into it.

“After losing my mum I wanted to give back and find a way to spend my time now I didn’t have my mum to look after at home.”

Complementary therapy was not the profession that Pat had practiced, having been a teacher in Worsley for 37 years prior. However, Pat did a full range of training and has transferred that to work with cancer patients and those with life-limiting conditions.

Pat now volunteers one day a week at the Little Hulton site and she finds this so rewarding. “I get far more out of the complimentary therapy than what I am able to give, the patients are so lovely and so accepting of any help I can give them.

“I know there are so many ways you can volunteer, I’ve met lots of other people volunteering in different parts of the hospice.”

When Pat arrives at the hospice she checks in with the rehab team who share their handover notes with her, which detail which patients would like therapy that day. The complementary therapy team can deliver lots of treatments, many of which help patients sleep, relax them or help alleviate pain problems. These include Reiki healing sessions, reflexology and more specific guided massages on the feet.

“There are a range of treatments I offer patients, and I have recently given these treatments to friends and family who are with their loved one at the hospice. They are also in need of relaxation and attention, so it’s nice I can be there for them as well.

“Many patients have never been pampered, understandably because a lot of the people are older, so it isn’t something that’s been part of their lifestyle. Often men have never been offered these treatments before either.

“I thoroughly enjoy being part of the complementary therapy team as a volunteer. I can always speak to the doctors and nurses at the wards, and they all recognise that we are working together for the holistic wellbeing of the people that are at St Ann’s. I couldn’t recommend volunteering more.”