A paler shade of green…

  • 21 January 2022

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Mick, volunteer gardener cuts the grass at Arthur Rank Hospice

We have an amazing team of volunteers at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, who keep our services running smoothly. They help us with everything from bereavement support sessions to customer service at the shops, proof-reading to baking cakes for the Bistro.

Often, much of what they do happens so quietly in the background that you don’t even realise its going on. But, once in a while we like to shine our Volunteer Spotlight onto one of them.

Here we meet our volunteer gardener Mick Pocock and discover more about how he became involved with the Hospice and his thoughtful grass cutting technique! 

“I first started as a garden volunteer at the old Hospice in Mill Road and enjoyed the wonderful friendships and satisfaction it gave me.

After just over a year of being there, the new Hospice at Shelford Bottom was near completion, and I was asked if I would like to give some input into the garden. I was invited in for some meetings to discuss the new gardens. It was such a privilege to be involved: planning out the many plants with Graham Hambling and other volunteer teams; and following the plans so that plants went into the right areas around the building. It was a very long process.

All went well and it all came together wonderfully. A good time was had by all, and we had some excellent plants to put in and brilliant help in planting as well. I look back now at how wonderful the gardens are now, and the many kind words visitors say to me and the rest of the garden volunteers. It was, and is, a wonderful team and we are so lucky that so many people gave, and continue to give, their time to the Hospice.

I have been a volunteer gardener now for six years and I enjoy every moment of it. Usually, depending on the restrictions for the pandemic, I come into the Hospice twice a week with Graham who is another gardening volunteer. To us, it is so rewarding to give back a little bit of our time for others and create a little bit of pleasure for others through our gardening.

One thing I do regularly is mow the grassy area that you get to when you walk out of the Bistro towards where Arthur’s Shed is. When you see the lawn (especially from above or after it has been recently cut) you will see both light and dark shades [lines]. This is done for a reason. I have a very particular way of mowing the lawn so that visitors approaching it from any side can see both the light and dark shades. This means whether visitors are in Inpatient Unit bedrooms, the Living Well Lounge or the Bistro, they can all see the different shades. It gives me great pleasure when the visitors say how wonderful it always looks.

In the pandemic and when restrictions are in place, we have not been able to come into the Hospice to do the gardens or cut the grass, but at these times the Facilities Team do a great job looking after things for us.”

You can see Mick in action in the video by clicking on the video below:


We are also thrilled to hear that Mick was recently made a Knight of the order of St George the Martyr.

Male wearing gown and cross for Knight of the order

At an official ceremony on Saturday 9 October 2021 “a day I will not forget” in St Mary’s Church, Cambridge, Mick took the oath. This title was awarded to him after the Magistral Council decided that his life and conduct merited his investiture as a Knight of the Order for his volunteer work over many years (both for us and as a special Constable for the Cambridgeshire Constabulary for 10 years!).

Huge congratulations from the whole team Mick, very well deserved!

If you would like to find out more about volunteering for the Hospice and the variety of roles available, visit arhc.org.uk/volunteers