A retired driving examiner from Thetford has swapped the passenger seat for the driver’s seat to help his local children’s hospice.
Tony Croome, 70, who spent 24 years assessing learner drivers for the Driving Standards Agency, now transports some of the 134 children and young people with life-threatening conditions cared for by East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) at Quidenham.
He drives children from their homes to the hospice and back, always accompanied by a nurse, and has been doing so for the last three years after he spotted an advertisement for volunteer drivers in the local press.
Tony, a husband of 36-and-a-half years, has no set hours, instead working on a driver’s rota.
He said: “I thought this would be a very worthwhile and rewarding job - and it is. Some of the children are right characters, funny and inspirational. I enjoy it immensely and I’d certainly recommend getting involved. It’s very worthwhile because you do make a difference in a practical way to not only the child but to their families and carers, too.”
EACH is celebrating Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7) by recognising and thanking its 1,300 volunteers who support the charity.
It relies on volunteers across all areas of its work to help generate income via fund-raising and its shops as well as to maintain hospice gardens and support families with daily household tasks through its Help at Home scheme.
Hannah Diaper, EACH Volunteer Development Manager said: “We want to take the opportunity this week to recognise and celebrate the difference that volunteers like Tony make to the charity and the families that access our care services.
“For example, our Help at Home scheme has volunteers matched with 20 local families and they support them with household tasks such as cleaning, shopping and gardening. Families tell us this is a huge help, enabling them to spend time nursing their child or simply being a family.
“Volunteers help us in so many ways, bringing new skills and experience and we are grateful for their time and their continued support.”
Anyone interested in volunteering for EACH should go to www.each.org.uk or call 01223 205183.