AMONG Manorlands' team of invaluable volunteers is Carol Grice.

Her father-in-law was cared for at the hospice several years ago, so before volunteering she was already well aware of the wonderful work performed there.

Carol is a qualified complementary therapist and offers Reiki and reflexology, both at the hospice and in people's homes.

"I always wanted to do something that could help other people and while I was still working I decided to enrol on a complementary therapy course," she said.

"Complementary therapy is an essential part of someone's journey when they are ill, as it can bring so many benefits.

"It can help release stress and tension, both physical and emotional, as well as easing pain and the side effects of some medical treatments.

"Often patients feel a deep sense of calm and wellbeing so that they can cope better with their illness and changing circumstances.

"People tend to open up during a session and might tell me things that they won't tell their doctor or loved one.

"One day a gentleman came in and I could see he was struggling to walk as his ankles were swollen, but he didn't want to tell his doctor as he felt it wasn't important enough.

"Seeing people at home also helps introduce them gradually to the idea of hospice care, as many people still have lots of misconceptions."

Carol also now volunteers as a befriender, following the launch of the service last month.

"I am really enjoying the role," she said.

"Initially I was a little apprehensive about who I was going to meet and if we would connect, but staff make sure they match you with a person that has similar interests.

"I get on really well with the lady I am befriending at the moment and the time passes so quickly. It helps take her mind away from her illness."

Manorlands is seeking more befrienders to join the team.

And it particularly wants to hear from people interested in getting involved in a national research study, which will measure the impact of befriending on reducing loneliness and social isolation for those at the end of life.

Volunteers must be able to commit to at least two to three hours a week and will receive a full induction, training and ongoing support.

Contact volunteer co-ordinator Andy Longden on or 01535 642308 ext 251 for further information.