24th June 2021
Thank You Day began with just 13 individual members of the public proposing the day. Mike was one of them. Here’s his story.
On Thank You Day, I’d like to give thanks to all the Marie Curie volunteers who carried on volunteering throughout the pandemic. I personally started volunteering with Marie Curie about two and a half years ago. When I retired from my job as a solicitor and moved down to Somerset, I was initially quite happy to enjoy not working anymore and play a bit of golf. However, it got to a point where I was looking for something more to do. So I trained to become a Marie Curie Helper volunteer , a role which involves giving comfort and support to someone with a terminal illness and visiting them for a few hours a week.
When lockdown hit, physical visits were no longer possible and my Helper role was put on hold. I started volunteering as a Marie Curie Companion instead, speaking over the phone with people who have been affected by a bereavement and are looking for someone to talk to.
I’ve found my volunteering work with Marie Curie difficult at times, but it does seem to make a real difference to people. Some find it easier to talk to a complete stranger than someone they know. They’re able to say things to me that they don’t feel able to say to anyone else. Just chatting about something can help you come to terms with it and some people have no one else to talk to.
As well as thanking the other volunteers, I also want to thank the Marie Curie Nurses. The Nurses continued to provide everyday support to dying people and their families throughout the pandemic. They were unfailingly praised by the people who I spoke with over the phone for the help they’d given to loved ones.
I’d like to share my personal thanks with my wife Mary for all her support and optimism. When I felt down at the start of the first lockdown, Mary was brilliant at egging me on and telling me to get on with things. We pulled each other through, setting ourselves daily tasks of different things to do to stay positive. Before lockdown we were doing one Pilates class a week and now we do four online – I think Mary enjoys them more than me!
The past year has been a tough time for everyone and we’ve all got someone to be thankful for, whether it’s the neighbour who did our shopping, the supermarket workers who stayed on the tills, or the delivery drivers who worked late into the night to drop off our orders. All these people continued putting themselves out there when they didn’t have to. We generally take people like this for granted and it’s only when something like the pandemic happens that you start to realise how interdependent we all are.
Everyone will celebrate Thank You Day in different ways. We will probably have a few people round for nibbles and drinks in our garden. We’ll invite the people whom we supported locally and who supported us.
I hope Thank You Day will help us reflect on what we have to be grateful for over the past year and stop those feelings of gratitude from just fading away. As we seem to be coming out of the worst of things now, wouldn’t it be nice for everyone to come together and just say thank you to someone, whoever it is, for helping them through.
Meet all the Thank You Day proposers.