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Keeping It In The Family

Volunteers have made charity work a family affair after coming together to support a hospice.

Helen Clyde began helping St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington, as a driver and now volunteers in the day and in-patient units as well as the fundraising team.

Following closely in her footsteps are two of her children, Felix, 14, who volunteers in the furniture shop and Caspar, ten, who raises funds by running.

Helen, a former police officer, MOD administrator and foster mum, hopes one day to become a diagnostic radiographer.

Last year she studied an access course at the town’s Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College with a view to reading a health-related degree at Teesside University.

She began volunteering for the experience but the days spent in St Teresa’s Hospice have become the highlight of the week.

“I love being on the day unit and I come out feeling uplifted,” she said. “I had never been in the hospice before and it is so lovely, particularly all the staff.”

She told her sons about the work of the hospice and they visited for a tour. Caspar was looking for a cause to raise money for and chose the hospice as the beneficiary when he ran the recent Junior Great North Run.

He also performed balloon modelling to raise extra funds at the Best of Darlington Awards and so far has realised more than £400.

Felix now works at the St Teresa’s Hospice shop in Skinnergate. He said: “I didn’t know what to expect and was amazed how positive the hospice is. Staff have an amazing relationship with patients and I love working in the shop.”

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “We value every piece of support we receive from the community and when the whole family gets involved it is even more special.

“Helen does a great job for us and both boys are brilliant role models for young people across the area.”