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Volunteer goes above and beyond to help others

In her career as a nurse in neo-natal surgical intensive care, Morag Taylor was used to being busy, being active and being needed.

But when she suffered nerve damage in her hip, Morag was forced to give up the job she loved. While initially she was stuck at home because she couldn’t manage to walk great distances, Morag decided she needed to do something.

So, on the advice of a friend who was already a volunteer with Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, Morag got in touch with us. And, eight years later, Morag is still happily giving up her time to help those living with our conditions.

A feeling of being useful

Morag, 66, lives in Clarkston with her husband. A mum to two grown-up children, she’s also about to become a gran for the first time this year.

She says: “I wanted to do something that wasn’t too strenuous at the time. I couldn’t get out at the time because I was on a lot of painkillers, but I knew I could talk to people in their homes or groups. That’s how it started, and I still enjoy it so much.

“In a totally selfish way, volunteering has given me a feeling of being useful again.

“I do several different things. I do one-to-ones with people who have just been released from hospital, giving them some support and helping them adjust.

“I also volunteer at the communication group that meets at Silverburn. And a lot of people in that group, who are all recovering from stroke, go along to a walking group at Rouken Glen Park once a fortnight, so I volunteer as one of the helpers there, too.

“I can’t tell which role is most rewarding because they are all so great to do. I love speaking to the clients and I love the walking and communication groups. No matter what I’m doing, it’s such good fun and we all have a laugh together.”

Going above and beyond

Bronwyn Tibbs is the Community Support Services Coordinator for Chest Heart & Stroke scotland in Glasgow who has worked with Morag in her eight years as a volunteer with the charity.

She says: “All our volunteers are amazing people with so much to give, but Morag is special. She worked for a long time with a man who had been left with no speech at all after a stroke.

“She visited him weekly and took him things like word games and her own tablet to give him stimulation and encouragement to communicate in other ways. She was also a great support to his wife. During lockdown, Morag kept in touch with him through video calls so he didn’t feel alone.

“Sadly he passed away during lockdown, but Morag was such an amazing support, making him feel important and valued at all times.

“The work she and our other volunteers do is incredible. They go above and beyond all the time to help those they are supporting. They deserve all our thanks.”

For Morag, the praise is nice, but what she really wants is to keep doing what she’s doing.

She says: “For as long as they’ll put up with me, I’ll keep volunteering! I recommend it to anyone – you will get so much out of it and the person or people you are helping will get so much out of it, too.”

Saying thank you

Morag is also looking forward to saying thank you this Thank You Day on Sunday 5th July, which also falls during 2022's Volunteers' Week.

She says: “I am so grateful to be part of Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland because being with this charity doesn’t feel like volunteering to me. It’s much more like having an extended family.

“We all share our hopes and triumphs as well as our worries and disappointments. Everyone, whether in a group, on the phone or on video, is there to support each other.

“Service users and volunteers, we all learn, work and achieve together. On Thank You Day, I want to thank all of you for letting me be part of something so special.”

To find out more about volunteering with us, and to see the latest volunteering opportunities, please visit chss.org.uk/volunteering

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