BARNSLEY Hospice has made an urgent appeal for volunteer drivers to help patients who can't get to the centre without help. 

It already has nine drivers on the team, but up to six new volunteers are needed because the hospice is caring for an increasing number of people.

Volunteer services manager Barbara Cronin said: “We’ve had a couple of long-serving volunteer drivers retire which has reduced numbers, yet we have more patients and services than ever before.

“Volunteers drive patients to and from their own homes and we really can’t do without them. They’re hugely important to the day to day running of the hospice as some patients have no other way of getting here.”

Retired racecourse bookmaker Pat Ryan, aged 65, has been a volunteer driver for four years. He signed up as a way of giving something back to the hospice following the death of his wife Denise, 60, of breast cancer, in 2008.

Volunteer drivers must have their own car but are paid mileage. People who are flexible in the days or hours they can volunteer are particularly needed but drivers who are, for example, only available on one day a week are still urged to get in touch.

More than 400 volunteers carry out all manner of roles at the hospice, from complementary therapy to gardening and fundraising.

The hospice, at Gawber, has ten beds for inpatient care and the Limes is open every day during the week.

Many other services include specialist pain and symptom management, complementary therapies, counselling and support groups.

Ring Barbara on 01226 323620 or email barbara.cronin@barnsley-hospice.org.