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1 Nov 2019 Personal Stories

Volunteer Michelle pampers patients to help them feel like her friend Clare did

After seeing first-hand the care her friend, Clare Standring, received at Kirkwood three years ago, Michelle Ainley, of Almondbury, decided she wanted to give something back in her own unique way.

In October 2016, popular local lady, Clare Standring, spent her final weeks being cared for by the nursing team on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit. During her stay, Clare’s friend Michelle spent a lot of time visiting her and using her hair and beauty expertise to help her feel just a little better.

Michelle said: “When Clare found out that her illness was incurable, she knew she wanted to be at the Hospice.

“I’d never visited before until Clare was admitted; I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it is such a lovely place.”

Whilst Michelle was regularly visiting Clare, she decided to put her skills to use to make her friend feel her very best.  

Michelle, who has recently joined the team at Toothill Hair Salon in Kirkheaton, said: “Clare was a glamorous lady, so when I visited her in the Hospice I would make sure her hair was just how she liked it.

“I would cut and blow dry it for her. I just knew how much it meant to her as she didn’t have enough energy to be able to do her own hair."

 Clare (left) and Michelle (right)

After being cared for by Kirkwood for two and a half weeks, Clare died at the Hospice on the 27th October 2016 – aged just 46.

After experiencing the difference she was able to make to Clare’s wellbeing, Michelle was keen to come back as a volunteer to help others feel a little better too. Two years later, Michelle now regularly visits patients on Kirkwood’s In-Patient Unit, putting her skills to use wherever they’re needed.

“After knowing how well it made Clare feel to have a fresh blow dry, I just wanted to come back and help others feel the same way.

“I know some patients at Kirkwood may struggle to get to the hairdressers, so I come to them.

“I usually visit weekly, but if I am needed in between then I will always make time to go.

“I just enjoy being here, I feel like I am making a difference. Even just having your hair washed and blow-dried by someone else; it makes you feel that little bit better.”

 Michelle on Kirkwood's In-Patient Unit

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