Meet a couple in a million – Carole and Dave Young of Selsey Drive who are looking forward to spending Christmas at Keech Hospice Care, just as they have done for the past six years.
They regard staff and patients as their surrogate family and there’s no place they’d rather be over the festive season.
They’ve been volunteering for more than a decade and during that time have raised an amazing £231,998 for the charity that’s so close to their hearts.
Carole, 69, admitted: “Every day I try to think of something I can do to make sure this hospice will be here for ever. My main aim is to keep fundraising so the doors never have to shut.”
She added: “It’s difficult to put into words but this is such a special place.
“Yet there are still people in Beds, Herts and Bucks who aren’t aware of the wonderful work that is done here.
“We still haven’t got over to the wider community how lucky and privileged we are to have both a children’s and adult hospice in Luton.”
The former Vauxhall clerical worker confessed that now she’s retired, she looks on volunteering as her job.
“And I give it 110 per cent,” she said. “It could be picking up collection tins, making tea for the nurses or chatting to the WI, golf clubs, schools and churches.”
Former Denbigh High pupil Dave, 70, smiled: “She’s always been good at talking.”
Carole, a feisty blonde, runs a charity market stall in Ampthill selling bric-a-brac. And she’s constantly organising curry nights, quiz nights, fish and chip supper and dances to make even more money.
She and Dave, 70, became interested in the hospice after hearing an item on local radio about vandals breaking windows in the then new children’s hospice.
She organised a fundraising raffle at a gig where Dave was playing with his band, Mike Dean and the Kinsman.
And that was the start of their total commitment and support.
He’s now with Gerry and the Attricks and still contributing to Keech coffers.
Dave, a one-time Luton News printer, is an aspiring artist whose colourful murals have transformed the children’s unit.
He’s also covered the walls of the Meadow bereavement suite with butterflies.
He said: “It looks beautiful in there now, less scary and more like a nursery.
“The nurses say it’s much nicer, less clinical.
“I’ve done all sorts of things at Keech I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. And if we’d had children ourselves, we wouldn’t have had the time.”
Carole said: “Keech Hospice Care has given our life purpose.”