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The Little Family

The Little Family

Memories from the Little Family (Jack, Muriel, Kathryn and Charlotte) recorded in March in 2007.

Muriel and her daughter Kathryn were looking through the local paper one night in 1991, when they spotted an article about Eden Valley Hospice.

The hospice was about to open and volunteers were needed to help out where required. An open day had been arranged and interested people were asked to attend.

Muriel and Kathryn both decided to find out more, and they roped in Muriel’s husband Jack to take them there. Jack agreed to take the girls and said he would go for a pint whilst they attended. ‘Not on your life’ was Muriel’s reply, ‘You can just come with us and sit quietly’. Jack agreed but made it plain that he wouldn’t be doing any volunteering.

The evening was very informative and motivating. Muriel remembers with laughter how Jack had stood up at one point and said “I’m Jack Little and I’m willing to help out wherever I can” Muriel was so shocked that she pinched his bum!

At the end of the open evening, Jack, Muriel and Kathryn had all signed up to become volunteers. Muriel in Day Care, Kathryn once a fortnight to cover reception and Jack was taken on as a volunteer driver, to bring the patients into Day Care.

Jack really enjoyed his volunteering and having a good ‘crack’ with the patients. When he first started, the hospice didn’t have an ambulance and volunteers would bring the patients into Day Care using their own transport. There was one time that Jack was very late home after taking a patient home to Penrith for the first time. Muriel recounts Jack’s story as follows:

“The patient was giving me directions and I was getting deeper and deeper into the countryside, I kept asking if we were going the right way and he kept reassuring me that we were. Eventually, after a grand tour of the countryside, we ended up at his house and I said that I was sure it would have been a lot quicker if we had gone on the motorway”

The patient had replied “Oh, aye, it would, but I thought we might as well have a drive out.”

Jack was the front and Muriel the back end of a cow, when staff and volunteers put on a pantomime for the patients in December 1992, apparently at the end of it all Muriel was black and blue from where Jack had knocked into her. A great time and a lot of laughs were had by all.

When the hospice was officially opened, Muriel was immensely proud that her granddaughter, Charlotte was chosen to hand a bouquet of flowers to the Duchess of Kent.