There can’t be many people who are prouder to be a volunteer with Severn Hospice than 74-year-old Ralph Prince.
Since December 1996, he has been a committed lottery collector.
And for the past five years he has helped out at our charity shop in Wem, sorting books, DVDs, and CDs, working on the till and meeting customers.
Ralph, who lives in Stanton-upon-Hine-Heath, is now back working as a volunteer in the shop after lockdown and will hopefully restart his collection rounds shortly.
And he is first to admit he has missed seeing his friends and customers.
“I have made a lot of friends and had 200 players at one time.
“I really enjoy doing it, but I haven’t been able to for 12 months because of lockdown.”
Ralph has just received his 25-year Long Service Award here at the hospice.
He was presented with his certificate by our head of retail Ross Henderson and is now planning a celebratory afternoon tea once Ralph is back from his annual holiday to Bournemouth.
“Over the years I have got to know a lot of people really well,” said Ralph. “I started my round in 1996 and used to do it with my mum. She liked meeting people, so it was something nice to do together. When she died, I carried on with it and I built up rounds in Stanton, Hadnall, Clive and Shawbury. Over the years I have had 12 £2,000 prize winners.
“I was 50 when I started collecting and then five years ago, I got in to working in the shop because they wanted to sell raffle tickets and I said I would do it. I offered to do some other jobs as well and that was it, I’m still here.”
Apart from making new friends through his work, Ralph has also met some old faces. “Last year a lady came into the shop, and I recognised her from Wem School,” said Ralph. “I hadn’t seen her for about 60 years, so it was really nice. I have also seen people who used to work with me at the Rubber and Plastics Research Association (RAPRA) in Shawbury.
“Everyone is so friendly, and it means so much to me. It really makes my day.”
Karen Swindells, lottery manager said: “I want to say thank you to Ralph for his service over the years. He is such a lovely man.
“He is a real joy, and it is lovely that he so enjoys his role as a collector and has made so many friends. We hope that we can welcome him back on his rounds very soon.”
Would you like to be a volunteer like Ralph? Email email@example.com for more information.