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Celebrating three years of our free transport service – Volunteer spotlights

To help mark three fantastic years of our free transport service for cancer patients from across the region, we’re profiling our amazing volunteers, patients, and staff as part of our celebrations.

Meet John and Mary, who kindly volunteer their time to drive our minibuses.

“No matter what the weather, we're there for the patients.”

John talks about how he started volunteering, has made friends for life with other drivers, how the service works and the reasons why he gives his time to the charity to help others.

John says: “I wanted to volunteer after retiring. It was perfect as I like driving and I like meeting people - and I am never short on something to say! I enjoy every minute of doing it.

“We just enjoy a good chat about anything and everything. You know, there's no limits! If the patients tell us their symptoms, then we'll listen, but we never ask, that's not our place.”

John talks about how he has made new friends with the other bus drivers.

He said: “The other drivers, we are all of a similar mindset, we all enjoy driving and meeting the patients.

“We meet up occasionally and go out for a drink and we have a WhatsApp group. If something crops up, you just put it on WhatsApp, you can guarantee somebody will cover your shift. It's just a good group.

“It’s just an enjoyable thing to do and I would recommend it to anybody, if they like driving and like meeting people, it’s perfect.”

John talks about how important it is to make patients feel comfortable on their journeys to and from the hospital.

He said: “Personally, I always introduce the new people to the other patients on the bus and hopefully make them feel relaxed. Sometimes, people feel a little bit reserved and it's very quiet. Other mornings you never stop talking, whether it's the news or whatever.

“On a on a return trip, sometimes it can be a little quieter, but then we don't know what the patient has gone through or how they're feeling. You just you go with the flow.

“If we've got new patients and patients who are already into their treatment, they help one another with the symptoms. It does reassure people, it makes a big difference and I think it does help them relax, which is a good start.”

He talks about how the free transport service works and more about the Barnsley service.

John said: “We pick up from the various points and everybody gets comfortable. Leaving time is usually 9am and 1pm.

“For the Barnsley service, the one I drive, we pick up at Oakwell Football Stadium, The Holiday Inn in Dodworth, and also Birdwell, which is just off the M1.

“So, there’s convenient pick-ups for different parts of Barnsley. We pick people up, chat on the way, get to Sheffield, park up and then the patients normally go straight into the hospital, depending on their appointment time.

“When the patients have had their treatment, they come back into The Hub and when everybody's back, we leave and go back to either Barnsley, Chesterfield, or Rotherham, and we'll then pick up for the afternoon.

“No matter what the weather, we're always there. Rain or shine, we will be there no matter what. We're there for the patients.”

“I've been volunteering for Weston Park Cancer Charity for three years.”

We’ve spoken to Mary all about her reasons why she volunteers for the charity as a bus driver and how she enjoys bringing positive energy to the role.

She said: “I enjoy the company on the bus, because it can be very, very funny. It can be sad. You've got to know when not to talk to patients or whether to try and keep upbeat.

“I think it’s good for people to be able to talk. I do think, and I could be wrong, but I do think men don't talk to each other as much, whereas the women will share their details and they'll swap mobile phone numbers. But the men sometimes need to be pushed to talk about what's happening with them.”

Mary talks about how the free transport service makes travelling to and from appointments easier.

She said: “When people get here, and they realise that they’re dropped at the door, they don't have to mess about trying to find a parking space and they realise that they can get on the bus at different places - it helps them take an extra worry off their mind.”

Mary concludes by giving a message to those who may want to be a volunteer bus driver with us.

She said: “I think people should become a volunteer if they've ever been touched with cancer in their family.

“It's one way of paying back to Weston Park or any hospital.”

For more information about our free transport service, visit here or contact us on either 0114 553 3330 or

Could you be one of our volunteer bus drivers like John and Mary? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

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