40 Faces of hospice care | Meet Joyce Smith, volunteer and supporter

31st March 2023

A lady, Joyce Smith, who is a volunteer at St Barnabas Hospice, photographed in black and white, against a black backdrop

While Joyce has been a much-loved volunteer since 1993, her support for St Barnabas started a few years earlier.

When a colleague was diagnosed with cancer and cared for by the Hospice, Joyce visited regularly. And it started her brain ticking, thinking about what she could do to support St Barnabas. Around the same time, Joyce spotted our appeal for help to raise money to build an Inpatient Unit on Nettleham Road in Lincoln.

She took on the challenge to walk over hot coals, a Moonwalk, three London marathons, several halves and many netball tournaments later, and Joyce had found her fundraising feet – quite literally! And in 1990, her dedication was recognised when her employer Marconi nominated Joyce for a British Empire Medal for raising so much money for good causes.

Not one to rest on her laurels – or rest at all, it seems, her father’s passing in 1992 from cancer prompted Joyce to respond to St Barnabas’ advert asking for Hospice at Home volunteers. She was one of the first to take on the role, and 15 years later, when the initiative ended, Joyce was one of the last in post. Despite working full-time, she’d visit patients in their homes every week, sitting and chatting, playing cards, taking them shopping and helping with anything they needed. All her efforts made a real difference to the patients, and it was obvious how much Joyce enjoyed it too.

Joyce then went on to join our volunteer companion scheme. And before long, she was spending most Saturdays at our Inpatient Unit in Lincoln too, taking patients their meals, keeping them topped up with tea and taking the time to chat.

While the Inpatient Unit underwent an extensive renovation in 2022, Joyce volunteered at our flagship charity shop The Warehouse in Lincoln, to sort donations. It came about quite by chance when Joyce visited and noticed how busy the team was. When she found out they could do with a hand, she put herself forward straightaway. Little did she know she was soon to be reunited with an old work colleague; Jane, one of the Warehouse team, who used to work with Joyce at Marconi. In fact, Joyce was Jane’s manager. Today roles have reversed – it’s a good job Joyce was a fair boss!

In her own words…

“St Barnabas is part of my life now. I’m so passionate about it – I live, breathe and talk about it all the time. I don’t see my involvement ending. I like to think I’ll still be helping in some way when I’m in my eighties.”


To see all 40 Faces and their stories, please visit: https://stbarnabashospice.co.uk/40faces

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