Volunteer gardener Paul Shingler joined our Tŷ Gobaith team three years ago, shortly after retiring to the area from a long career in investment management that saw him regularly commuting between the Wirral and London.

“We’d always enjoyed walking and mountaineering so Snowdonia was a natural choice, and we came to live less than a mile from Tŷ Gobaith,” recalls Paul.

“My wife Hayley was working as a Bank Nurse for Tŷ Gobaith and used to come home and tell me how wonderful the work they did was.

“I had been thinking that I would like to volunteer for an outdoor organisation, something like the National Trust, because I wanted to give something back.

“When Hayley told me that Tŷ Gobaith needed volunteer gardeners I applied straight away. It combines the outdoors, which I love, with doing something for children and families who find themselves in a less fortunate position.”

Paul is now part of our team of four volunteer gardeners – himself, Elwyn Roberts, Helen Walk and Glyn Jones - who keep the extensive grounds at the hospice in tip top condition.

In December they all put the gardens to bed for the winter, but when it came to re-opening them this spring the Coronavirus shutdown meant all volunteers were asked to remain home, stay safe and not make any unnecessary journeys.

But because Paul lives less than a mile from Tŷ Gobaith and volunteers outdoors, he has been able to carry on taking care of the gardens, walking to the hospice and making sure he maintains strict social distancing.

“I believe that now more than ever the gardens need to be kept in good shape for the children and families who are coming to use Tŷ Gobaith,” he says.

“The Peace Garden particularly needs looking after so that families who need time for reflection have somewhere beautiful to sit.

“I walk down the drive way at the end of a session and I know I have done something very worthwhile and made a difference. I really love volunteering and I love Tŷ Gobaith.”

Tŷ Gobaith Head of Care Angharad Davies said Paul was doing an incredible job of keeping the gardens in great condition.

“Children and families love to be outdoors here, and we can’t thank Paul enough for his dedication in helping to make sure everything is doing well, particularly the Peace Garden,” she added.

“Paul even came to garden on his 60th Birthday last month! That really is dedication.”

Paul is pictured watering the plants in the Peace Garden, outside of our end-of-life suite.