Many roles for volunteers at Torbay Hospital Radio

I’m not a word magician like Dame Susie Dent from the Countdown Realm, but I enjoy studying words and their formulation.

Did you know that the word “voluntary” comes from the Latin word “volutarius” which means “will of one’s choice”?

The word first entered the English language in a poem in 1330.

So why do we volunteer?

I think we mainly care and help others, we want to feel useful, make new friends, learn new skills and sometimes that can lead to a job. Volunteering is a two-way street.

When I was eight I joined the British Red Cross as a cadet.

Every Tuesday for five years, I put on my beret and left ready to mummify a willing suspect from head to toe in all kinds of bandages. If they were really lucky I would put them in the recovery position.

My least favorite was learning to make “hospital wedges” for my nursing exam – thank goodness for the quilts!

At least I can still recite the phonetic alphabet as if I were Juliette Bravo.

A memory will stay with me forever. As Christmas approached, we were seconded to chaperone the elderly around Woolworths, to help them with their Christmas shopping.

As I was driving a lovely lady in her wheelchair, I remember telling her about where she would be spending Christmas and she informed me that she would be spending Christmas at her residence.

I remember coming home that night and crying with all my heart. I must have been only nine or ten years old.

I couldn’t understand that this lady would not be with her family. I thought of my dear grandmother who spent every Christmas with us.

My mom suggested that maybe it would be nice if I visited this lady at her house on Christmas Day.

My father drove me to the residence on Christmas morning and I gave the lady a basket of fruit to share with her and her roommates. She was delighted to see me.

When the lockdown was announced in March 2020, I was taken time off from my day job.

I was private. I felt lost and needed to have a purpose and a routine. So, I volunteered with Torbay Community Helpline.

My role was as a “friend” where I called people who needed help from the service.

I was perhaps the only person they had spoken to that day.

With my previous experience working in mental health, I was able to steer them towards the right organization.

If I had a concern, I would notify the office who would offer further assistance.

When the restrictions eased, I returned to work.


Torbay Hospital Radio
– Credit: Submitted

Earlier this year my daughter sent me an ad for Torbay Hospital Radio, it was her suggestion that I should apply.

Well as you can see I did and love it. I have free rein to play whatever music I want, but the best part is that we go beyond the hospital area into the community.

Our viewing figures are on the rise, it thrills me so much to know that our shows are being listened to.

If you would like to apply to Torbay Hospital Radio, you can apply through our website. There are many different roles such as fundraising, going into wards and getting patient inquiries and we always need help with outside broadcasts.

Being a presenter isn’t as scary as you might think and you can try your hand at sound engineering – if I can get a handle on that, anyone can.

There is a full training program to follow and you are mentored before being the airwaves controller.

For me, this is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love it. My show airs every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. You can listen through our website.


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