Hospice work a mother-daughter gift
Volunteering has literally been a way of life for 10-year-old Charlotte Hurley, who was awarded a five-year long service award from Arohanui Hospice at the age of six.
Charlotte’s mother, Andrea, a nearly 20-years volunteer veteran, says Charlotte was a babe-in-arms when she first took her to the hospice. “I’d stop work, and attend to Charlotte, and tuck her up to sleep in the laundry.”
In time, a spare laundry trolley became a bunk bed for Charlotte’s teddy bear, and the toddler learned to fold face flannels and kitchen clothes into perfect squares, helping Andrea with laundry work.
Her favourite job in the laundry was helping her mother with the big roller iron. Charlotte’s job was to help feed clean but crumpled sheets through the rollers, and they’d emerge smooth and crisp and with that special just-ironed smell.
Andrea says she particularly enjoyed laundry work, dealing with big baskets of laundry from the rooms. “There’s an intense satisfaction in finishing a job, that feeling of completion.”
After Covid-19 struck in 2020, the hospice’s laundry was outsourced, so Andrea and Charlotte joined the housekeeping volunteers’ shifts.
“We wanted to keep helping, and stay part of the team,” Andrea says.
Once a month, they clean rooms and public areas. Andrea’s job is the vacuuming, and Charlotte is expert at polishing mirrors and cleaning hand basins.
“I quite like housework when I’m doing it for somebody else.” Charlotte says, smiling. “But don’t look at my bedroom, please!”
Andrea says volunteering for Arohanui Hospice is a way of giving back help received. Her great-aunt had been in the hospice’s care in 1997. Her family so appreciated the compassion and serenity given to her great aunt.
Arohanui Hospice mother-and-daughter volunteers Charlotte, 10, and Andrea Hurley. Long service awards for Andrea and Charlotte Hurley.
“So, pay it forward and help. That’s my motto. You never know when you’ll need help, yourself.”
Andrea also volunteers for Meals on Wheels, the Cancer Society’s fundraiser Daffodil Day, and is a Justice of the Peace.
She says it is important for children to learn early that you should give back to society. She is proud of Charlotte’s work.
Charlotte says she wants to keep volunteering. The St Mary’s School student’s future aspirations include perhaps studying veterinary science, with an eye to horses, or possibly a career in research.
Meanwhile, once a month, she and her mother clean.
“It’s fun. It doesn’t smell like a hospital, and there’s no hustle and bustle there. The floors are soft and quiet, and the gardens are beautiful,” Charlotte says