Long-serving volunteer asks guests at his 80th birthday bash for charity donations instead of gifts

Hospice of St Francis Mick Walsh pictured with nurses.
Hospice of St Francis Mick Walsh pictured with nurses.

A great-grandfather celebrating his 80th birthday marked the milestone by requesting donations in memory of his wife instead of presents.

Mick Walsh handed over a £1,000 cheque to The Hospice of St Francis following his birthday bash at Leverstock Green Cricket Club.

The retired painter and decorator said: “I told everyone that at my age, I didn’t want presents. Let’s be honest, at my age I don’t need anything.

“My wife Maureen was cared for so wonderfully at the hospice in the five days before she died of cancer in November 2002 that I just wanted to do this for them as a gesture of thanks.

“The care was first class and the compassion was unbelievable.”

Mick and Maureen, of The Horseshoe in Leverstock Green, had been married for 42 years and ever since losing her, Mick has volunteered at the Berkhamsted hospice. He started lending a hand with the gardening team before giving his painting and decorating services for free.

In the last 10 years, he’s painted the kitchen, entrance hall and lounge in the old hospice building, while in the current hospice building he’s painted all the bedrooms, the nurse’s station and the hallway.

Senior sister Jenny Burrell said: “We are so grateful to Mick and all his family and friends for this generous and very altruistic donation to mark his 80th birthday, as well as to Mick for all the time and skill he’s given to the hospice as a volunteer for over a decade. He’s an absolute gem.”

To find out more about donating and supporting the hospice call 01442 869550 or visit www.stfrancis.org.uk