Volunteering for The Royal Marsden – Shirley’s story

Shirley shares her positive volunteering experience at The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity – from working as part of a team to meeting new and interesting people.

Head and shoulders of a woman with short blonde hair with a fringe, wearing a collared shirt and a cardigan
Our wonderful volunteer, Shirley.

“During my time with The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, I have undertaken many roles within the hospital, as well as at fundraising events."

"I have had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and as a result have formed some strong friendships. Even though some people have moved away over the years, we still meet up outside of The Royal Marsden.”

Why be a volunteer?

“I would certainly recommend volunteering with the Charity, as although you are giving your time to others, you get so much more back."

"I really enjoy volunteering as no two days are the same. You know you have made a difference when you hear staff say, 'Thank you, we really appreciate you.'"

Shirley’s volunteering roles

“I started volunteering for the Charity in 2004, following the death of a close friend the previous year. I wanted to utilise my free time in a meaningful way and give back to the hospital.”

“Having a team of volunteers helps enable Charity staff to focus on fundraising, while I and others are able to carry out the time-consuming but important jobs, such as stocktaking merchandise, counting cash donations, and organising raffle and tombola prizes.”

“In 2011, the Charity launched The Banham Marsden March, and I was delighted to support it from the very beginning. I help the team in the run up to the event and, on the day, I support at the finish line in Sutton – distributing medals and drinks, as well as giving directions to walkers.”

A woman smiling. She is wearing a Banham Marsden March volunteer vest and cap and by a table of finishers medals.
Shirley at The Banham Marsden March

The magic of volunteering at Christmas

Each year hundreds of staff, patients, supporters and their families gather for Celebrate a Life – a special occasion with local choirs and bands, where people can name a star on The Royal Marsden Christmas trees. 

“Each year, I help write names on the stars ahead of Celebrate a Life and place them on the Christmas tree in Sutton.”

“Although it’s very emotional reading the messages, when the tree lights are turned on at the carol service and you see the faces of those who placed a star on the tree, it makes all the effort worthwhile.”

“I also look forward to supporting the Oak Centre for Children and Young People at Christmas. I help decorate the trees, the playroom, prepare games for the Christmas party and wrap presents for the children. It is wonderful to be able to support patients and their families at what is quite often a challenging time for the whole family.”


Become a volunteer!

The support we receive from our volunteers helps The Royal Marsden make life better for people with cancer. If Shirley’s story has inspired you, find out more on our volunteering page

You can find available roles on our current vacancies page or get in touch with our team at [email protected].

Discover more stories on our blog.