Chris Jordan looks the picture of a dedicated professional gardener tending the flower-beds and shrubs outside Butterfly House, the home of South Bucks Hospice. He is also a distinguished pharmacologist.

What prompted Chris to volunteer? He retired four years ago after a long career in pharmaceuticals, during which he helped identify and develop new drugs for patients, including Zofran, an award-winning drug, to treat the severe nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment.

As he neared retirement, he began searching for alternative and useful ways to fill his time. At a fundraising event, he bumped into the then CEO of South Bucks Hospice and agreed to meet with her to discuss volunteering after he retired.

He recalls: “I told her I quite liked gardening and I now help maintain the garden at Butterfly House where the hospice is based. I have also provided help writing grant applications and maintaining a database with the fundraising group. I lend a hand when needed – I am just part of a team that aims to improve the lot of others who are suffering life-limiting illnesses.”

How much of his time does volunteering take up? Chris occasionally comes to the hospice over at the weekend but mostly volunteers there on Wednesdays. Much of that time here is spent maintaining the gardens, the activities changing with the seasons.

What difference does volunteering make to Chris?  He says “The gardens are a great asset to the hospice.  They provide a place of peace and tranquillity, and so the work brings its own rewards.

I just feel I have had a pretty good life and have been fortunate in many ways so I want to put something back into society. I enjoy gardening and I am comfortable with more office-based activities, so it’s all positive for me.”

Would Chris recommend volunteering and if so why? Volunteering is very rewarding because you get appreciation from both staff and patients. It’s a very positive experience and you work with a fantastic group of people. You don’t have to commit huge amounts of time and there are a number of different roles you can take to fit your own talents and preferences.”

South Bucks Hospice is still in need of further volunteers with all different types of skills and from all walks of life. To see whether volunteering at South Bucks Hospice is for you, please contact Michael Cole at volunteers@sbhospice.org.uk  or call 01494 552764

Updated on November 11, 2019

Image courtesy of St Francis's Children Society