THIS week is National Volunteers’ Week, when charities, community groups, hospitals, and other organisations will be celebrating the work of valued volunteers.

It is also the 30th anniversary of Volunteers’ Week and events are being held across East Lancashire to mark the occasion.

Every year, more than 20 million people across England and the UK volunteer, donating more than 100 million hours to their communities every week.

East Lancashire Hospice in Blackburn relies on the support of more than 600 volunteers, who donate their time and talents to help the hospice.

Fundraising manager Sharon Crymble said: “We have volunteers throughout the hospice, in all areas. We couldn’t carry on without them.”

Hospice volunteer Hollie Taylor, 17, who works in the shop and helps the fundraising team, added: “The best thing about volunteering is that you’re helping people who need the help. I think it’s good to know that I’m helping to raise money for a charity that does such good work, helping all those people. It’s for all ages, not just older people who are retired.”

Freda Vallett, 79, volunteered at the hospice for 23 years.

She said: “Over the years I’ve done virtually everything. People say to me you’ve put a lot in, but I’ve got so much back. The job satisfaction is a plus, just knowing that I’ve helped somebody.”

Sue and Allan Poyner were motivated to volunteer after their niece Natalie was cared for there.

Sue said: “We started off doing a bit of gardening but then joined the fundraising department.

“We’ve made a lot of friends, it gives you a feeling of satisfaction that you’re doing something to help.”

Paul Campbell from the Switch drop-in centre in Burnley said: “The Switch has a long history with volunteers and understands just how vital they are to our communities.

“The assistance and passion volunteers provide is essential in sustaining services in these tough times.

“We’d like to send a massive thank you to the volunteers that have been a part of theSwitch over the years; helping our organisation grow and providing support to local people in and around the Burnley area.”

l To help celebrate National Volunteers Week, there will be a ‘Volunteer Led’ walk today.

The walk will start at 10am from The Boulevard Centre, Railway Road, Blackburn, and will last about one and a half hours.