Bill Shaw Chaplaincy Volunteer at Belfast City Hospital

Bill Shaw is a chaplaincy volunteer at Belfast City Hospital, he is 80 years of age and has been volunteering for over 50 years.

Bill had previously worked full time for the telephone exchange, and while it was working for this organisation that he first thought of volunteering. He was working in Musgrave Park Hospital fixing a telephone trolley when one of the elderly lady patients in the ward asked him if he was interested in volunteering. The next thing he knew he was invited to an interview, and following this was offered a volunteering role within a charitable organisation.

He retired from employment in 1990 and by this stage was volunteering with many organisations and undertaking various roles and duties, such as delivering meals on wheels, befriending, advocacy for older people, and working at a drop in centre for patients and families living with Alzheimer’s.

During his time volunteering he was also the main carer to his wife and also helped care for his father. Bill stopped volunteering for a year when his wife’s health deteriorated, and she unfortunately passed away. A while after this Bill started volunteering again.

Currently Bill is a chaplaincy volunteer on a Wednesday afternoon at Ward 1 South at Belfast City Hospital. When he arrives on the ward he will talk to the sister and ask if there’s anyone she needs him to talk to or offer support, and he will spend time on the ward with these patients. He also provides chaplaincy support once a month to several of the hospital wards. Along with another volunteer, Bill will take all the patients from the wards who would like to go to mass and will escort them back to their wards.

Bill finds volunteering so rewarding, and has been doing it for so long that it is an important part of his life, and other than country walks with his dog and volunteering at his local church this is how he spends his spare time. Volunteering has enabled him to meet new and interesting people and he has made a lot of good friends along the way, and is truly thankful that he became a volunteer.

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