“I am constantly learning about books.”

June 16th, 2023

A regular and long-serving volunteer, Lucy volunteers with the donated books for the Newlands Hospice shop and Warehouse.

The motivation to volunteer for Mary Potter Hospice came when Lucy moved from Hamilton to Wellington to be closer to family.

Having grown up surrounded by books and beautiful antiques Lucy wanted to continue her knowledge and curiosity with interesting objects by becoming involved in her new community.

And that is what she did. In 2008 Lucy began volunteering by sorting through the bric-a-brac at the Hospice’s first retail warehouse in Tawa.

“It was a tiny space overflowing with donations – an absolute treasure trove,” recalls Lucy.

Later when the warehouse moved to Porirua, Lucy followed suit.

“When sorting through the bric-a-brac at Porirua I noticed they were getting many valuable donations of books with their true value not being realised.”

She then contacted Donna, another long serving volunteer in the Thorndon shop who Lucy says is a font of wisdom in the book selling trade. From there on, Lucy’s interest in books grew and she embarked on the next chapter of her volunteering journey.

Today Lucy is based in the Hospice’s warehouse in Newlands where she is known as ’the book lady’. She even has her own book trolley with personalized plates

Lucy’s role involves sorting donated books into categories to be distributed to the Newlands and other Hospice shops.

Pricing books is a complex task. She often has to weigh up how available the book is, the condition of the book, its subject matter and how popular it might be.

If a book is particularly rare or sought after Lucy will pass the book onto the Trade Me team, or if the subject matter is more fitting for Donna’s clientele in Thorndon, she will send a special delivery her way.

Lucy looks forward to her ‘hospice’ days each week and says being part of Mary Potter Hospice team is rewarding in so many ways.

“I am constantly learning about books and I get a thrill when a box arrives at the warehouse. Inside could be a rare first edition which could fetch a high price on Trade Me. Or if it is estate collection of books there is the privilege of handling someone’s life collection of books and making sure they are respectfully cared for and priced.”

“The enjoyment and the fact I am always learning something new is part of what keeps me coming back as a volunteer after 15 years.”

“Just like the books I sort, each one of us volunteers have a unique story. We come from different backgrounds, countries, occupations, with different ages and interests, but we are all there for one important reason, to help the Hospice. I would encourage anyone thinking about volunteering to join the diverse team of wonderful volunteers working for Mary Potter Hospice.”

Thank you to our amazing volunteers who work with our patients, families and whānau, keep our shops operating and support our staff behind the scenes. Your time, skills, experience, fundraising and passion supports Mary Potter Hospice to offer our valuable services free of charge.

If you are interested in volunteering for Mary Potter Hospice, we’d love to hear from you! View our current volunteer vacancies here, or email volunteer@marypotter.org.nz with your enquiry.