Volunteer Margaret is the friend you haven’t met yet 

By Islay McColl

A Vale of Leven volunteer, who returned to the hospital after just one week of retirement, is celebrating working with the community for over 35 years.

Kind-hearted Margaret Jack, RIGHT,  worked for more than 20 years as part of the Vale’s domestic staff before retiring. The life of relaxation wasn’t for Margaret, 68, and she quickly decided she wanted to continue to give back to the community at the Vale.

After husband John, 75, fell ill, Margaret also found added incentive to give back to the health service that did so much for him.

Margaret said: “I remember seeing the notice for volunteers and I wanted to give something back to the health service. I had some many happy years working with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and at the Vale that I was delighted to return and help out. After seeing the level of care and treatment every day I wanted to continue to be a part of that and NHS staff also did so much for my husband when he was in poor health.

“I retired on the Monday and decided to return the following Monday, so retirement was only for me for a week!”

Margaret, who is from Alexandria, is loving her time volunteering at the Vale in the same ward she used to work in.

Her motto, which she picked up from her dad, is ‘a stranger’s just a friend you haven’t met yet’ and she brings that to her befriending role each day as she provides support in Ward 15 which is an Elderly Care Rehabilitation Unit.

Margaret said: “I really enjoy what I do and like to spend time chatting with the patients, especially with those who might not have anyone who can come to visit. People don’t like to be on their own and I like to think I reassure and comfort them.

“I was always told by my dad that a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet, I have lived my life in that way and have brought it to any role I have taken on at the Vale both as a staff member and now as a volunteer.

“Whether it’s making sure they have a cuppa, chatting away, reading to them or singing songs about the old days I’m there to be someone the patients can talk too and it’s really rewarding. Having worked in the ward before retirement, I also know a lot of faces and have been able to get to know new people too.

“Everyone at the Vale looks out for each other, I feel like part of the team and I appreciate the work of all of the staff and they appreciate me and my fellow volunteers as well.”

Margaret volunteers every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at the Vale, so still has some time to enjoy her retirement with husband John and daughter Louise, 46.

Harry Balch, Volunteer Manager for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said:  “We were delighted when Margaret decided to continue volunteering with us, she is such a key member of the team at the Vale.

“You’re always welcomed with a friendly smile by Margaret and her attitude and amazing work provides a great level of service to patients and has also had a positive impact on staff at the Vale too.”


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