In December 1998 I received a telephone call from the hospice inviting myself, a number of my colleagues and our partners, to a reception at the hospice. We were treated to a high tea and a tour of the building as a gesture of thanks for what we had helped Suzanne Goodall, and her team, to achieve.
In all my years in business, as both an engineer and a salesman, I had never been invited back to a customers’ premises as a ’thank you’ for a job well done. This gesture impressed both myself, and my wife Sheila, so much that we responded to an advert in a local newspaper stating that Tŷ Hafan was looking for volunteers - we signed up as Ambassadors there and then.
The training was very relaxed and informal. We were made aware of what the hospice did, how it fitted into the community, and how it linked into local health services within Wales. We were taken on a tour of the hospice to appreciate, at first hand, the wonderful care and attention that children and their families received from the professional team. It was at this time that the message ‘hit home’ - this was a much-needed charitable service that survived purely on public funding and we, as Ambassadors, would be part of a fantastic team to ensure that the service was able to survive.
My wife and I became ’active’ as Ambassadors in 2000, and worked together as a team, until she passed away in 2016.
During that time, we gave presentations and represented Tŷ Hafan at a broad range of functions - various sports occasions, school sports days, darts matches, golf club days and dinners, company dinners, schools, pubs, social clubs etc.
In addition to this we enjoyed getting involved with the variety of events organised by the Events Team including Santa Runs, Rainbow Runs, Snow Dog Appeal, Family Fun Days, Taff Trail, staffing water stations at marathons an so on.
I am unable to drive, so since 2016 I have not been as active as I would like. I still attend as many events as possible and have recently taken on the collection and monitoring of collection boxes at about 20 retail outlets.
The role of the Ambassador is to spread the name of Tŷ Hafan and the excellent service that it provides. We also collect any donations that organisations and the public in general are able to give.
Since joining Tŷ Hafan I have made, and still have, very many long-term close friends and associates. I also have some very dear memories including my wife, who was petrified of horses, being hoisted up onto the back of a police horse at a Family Fun Day, cyclists of all ages arriving at The Bay after completing 50 miles of the Taff Trail from Brecon, over a hundred ‘Santas’ running across the old Severn Bridge, and, observing the sheer pleasure on the faces of the children, and their parents at the Christmas Panto when Santa comes to call - and so many more.
There is no other organisation in the world that would get me to put on a dress, with a handbag and full makeup on, then cavort around the corridors of the hospice, ending up sitting on the lap of an old guy dressed in red with a full beard – and all in my mid 70s!!