Meet the people giving up their Christmas Day for Marie Curie

Christmas is an incredibly busy time for our Marie Curie hospices, and our staff and volunteers are there to support people at a time when they need it most. Meet two of the team who are spending their Christmas Day at a Marie Curie hospice, greeting visitors and cooking up a feast.

Chris is a familiar face at the Cardiff and the Vale hospice, welcoming and reassuring patients and visitors.

Chris Smart, 61, has given up Christmas Day with her own family for more than a decade to volunteer as a receptionist at the Marie Curie Hospice, Cardiff and Vale.

“It’s such a happy place to be on Christmas Day. The tree is wonderful and in terms of decorations, we have the full works! I meet so many people coming in to see their loved ones and they often bring children who love to show me their new toys. Last year Father Christmas turned up quite unexpectedly, which was nice.”

Another important part of Chris’s role is to manage the phone switchboard on Christmas Day. Chris explains, “I hope, for people who are often going through quite a difficult time, that it’s nice to hear a friendly voice at the end of the phone.

“I get immense satisfaction that I am doing something that counts and I’m looking forward to volunteering again this Christmas Day.”

Festive Feast

Linda Leano, 65, has worked as a Chef at the Hampstead hospice since 1985. 

She always aims to make the festive season extra special by working hard to prepare a Christmas dinner with all the trimmings.

“The first Christmas I worked here I found it exciting and frightening as I’d never done mass catering of a Christmas dinner before.”

Linda’s highlight of the day has to be the pudding.

“The nurses gather the patients in the family room and the kitchen staff go up with the Christmas pudding to light it in front of everyone. 

Linda loves making Christmas special for the people she cooks for

"When we do that, there are so many smiles and it makes me really happy that I can give others this gift.

“It’s such a great atmosphere on the day and everyone hugs and kisses each other. It’s really nice being together with all the kitchen staff, who are like a family.”

Supporting others is a way of life for dedicated people like Chris and Linda, but without your donations our hospices would not be able to continue looking after the people when they need it most.