A story of coming together at Christmas
Season's Greetings to all our fantastic volunteers
Read more seasonal volunteer stories, and watch our festive thank you video on the Volunteer Hub.
It's hard to find the words to describe how much Angela enjoyed her Christmas because of Megan's actions, to Angela it was one of the best days of her life.
Megan, Shop Manager
Megan Kelley started volunteering with Cancer Research UK in 2018 at the Nottingham Friar Lane Shop. "The team made me feel so welcome, and I just wanted to be there all the time. I made best friends for life! The shop manager, Daniel, put a lot of time into training me and really helped me boost my confidence."
Since then, Megan took on a paid role, first as a Shop Assistant, then Assistant Manager, before being offered the chance to manage her own shop in Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
Daniel, Nottingham (Friar Lane) Shop Manager, told us, “Since her last promotion, she has become one of the most successful up-and-coming managers in our area and has absolutely transformed the Ashbourne shop. She really is a young talent with an incredibly bright future ahead of her."
Megan’s parents, Jill and Dave, also volunteered with Megan in Nottingham, and now continue volunteering with Megan at the Ashbourne Shop. “My mum volunteers on a Monday with me. And my dad is a bit of a handyman, so he'll come and do jobs for free for us - that's what he's good at. They both really love it, and I love having them here with me.”
Daniel shared, “The Kelly family really are beautiful, kind people to the core and it is an absolute pleasure to know them. Sadly, Jill’s father, Megan’s grandfather, passed away the Sunday before Christmas last year. They are a very close family and his loss, especially at this time of year, hit them all hard."
Angela, Shop Volunteer
Angela, in her 60’s, has been volunteering at the Nottingham (Friar Lane) Shop for the best part of 25 years.
Daniel told us, “Angela had lived with her father her whole life, but when Angela’s father passed away in 2019, Angela struggled to adjust to living alone and there was a period of concern for her wellbeing. Since then, her brother moved in with her, but is often either working away, or away for other reasons. The 10 or so hours a week that Angela volunteers at the shop really is the bulk of her contact with the outside world.
She considers the shop team family and has always had a very special connection with Megan, and her mother, Jill. Angela’s feelings on Megan leaving the team to start her own journey managing the Ashbourne Shop were always bittersweet, she was happy for Megan but also misses her friend dearly, she asks how Megan is every time she comes in to volunteer. Although Angela never had the chance to meet Megan's grandfather, he would regularly send her fruit and veg from his allotment seeing as her father was no longer around to grow it for her. Rarely would I have a shift with Angela where she didn't tell me how happy she was that she had rhubarb this year, which may seem insignificant to some, but meant everything to her.
Unfortunately, Angela was set to be alone on Christmas Day last year, the first Christmas she would ever have spent alone in her whole life. Whilst she minimised this to us, it was clear that she was very worried and upset by this. By coincidence, Megan came to visit the Nottingham Shop shortly before Christmas, to surprise Angela and to see her old team. It was then that Megan learned that Angela was going to be alone at Christmas. Within a day, Megan had made arrangements to drive from the Ashbourne Shop on Christmas Eve (after her shift), to Nottingham to pick Angela up from her home, to take her back to Telford so that Angela could spend Christmas with Megan and her family. This was a 100-mile round trip.
Megan shared, “Angela is a very special person. I just bonded with her straight away and we became really good friends. I found that she was going to be alone last Christmas, and the thought of it really upset me and my mum and dad. We arranged that she would spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us. I drove to pick her up on Christmas Eve and we spent the evening watching Elf and Nativity – Angela hadn’t seen Nativity before, and she thoroughly enjoyed it! And then we had presents and Christmas dinner together on Christmas Day.”
“It's hard to find the words to describe how much Angela enjoyed her Christmas because of Megan's actions, to Angela it was one of the best days of her life”, shared Daniel. “Knowing Megan how I do, the kindness that she and her family showed Angela comes as no surprise to me, it's who they are and it's why they're so great at what they do for the charity.”
A huge thank you to Megan and Angela for everything you do for Cancer Research UK.
Visit the Volunteer Hub to read about some of the incredible things our volunteers get up to for us over the festive period.