Long-serving Phil would encourage others to volunteer for EACH

March 22, 2023

A hard-working shop volunteer admitted being “surprised and humbled” after having his dedication rewarded.

Phil Shortland has been helping at the East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH) store in Whittlesey since it opened in 2011.

The shop recently closed for three weeks while major refurbishments were carried out, including new flooring being fitted and lighting installed. When it reopened, Phil was asked to cut the ribbon alongside fellow long-serving volunteers Vanessa Moore and Iris Youles.

“I was pleased, surprised and humbled to be asked,” said the 62-year-old. “The shop looks great. It’s a massive improvement and the book section, where I spend most of my time, really looks the part. It’s the bee’s knees.”

Phil was born and raised in Peterborough but now happily settled in Whittlesey. He previously worked as a senior revenues officer for a local authority but life changed forever after suffering a stroke in 2003. Six months later, having tried his best to continue, he was eventually forced to take medical retirement.

He has since learnt to “live life differently” and part of that process was signing up to volunteer in the EACH shop. He gives up a morning a week and has a 10-year long-service badge in recognition of his sterling efforts.

“I was hesitant to start with but have never regretted signing up and certainly don’t have any plans to stop,” said the dad of three, who is married to Julie. I genuinely look forward to my day in the shop and it’s a lovely group of people. I’d definitely recommend it to others, especially for people in a similar situation to me. It gets me out once a week, rather than just stagnating at home.

“I’ve made friends and love what I do, doing the very best I can.”

The Whittlesey shop is one of 46 run by EACH to help fund its vital work supporting families and caring for children and young people with life-threatening conditions across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

It has three hospices, including one at Milton. To find out more about volunteering in Whittlesey, pop into the shop in Market Street, email Shop Manager Jeni.Baines@each.org.uk or ring 01733 200810.