The Primrose Car Service is operated by volunteers, and co-ordinated by a volunteer manager. Our drivers take Bedfordshire cancer patients to and from Addenbrookes for their radiotherapy treatment in a fleet of vehicles provided by Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends.
Before they can join, our drivers have an informal interview, receive DBS and occupational health checks, and take a driving assessment. We also ask for references.
At present we have a team of around 30 volunteers, with a variety of experiences and reasons for joining our service. Below we’ve selected just three of our drivers who explain why .
Keith: On leaving School, I went to work for Post Office Telephones (BT as we now know it). In 1999, after 35 years service, I took early retirement. In 2001 my wife had Breast Cancer. Following an operation in Bedford hospital, she needed 15 doses of radiotherapy at Addenbrookes, Cambridge. We used our own car as transport and met other Bedford patients having to go by bus!
Late 2005, I saw a request for volunteer drivers for a new service taking patients to Addenbrookes in cars provided by the Bedford Hospital Charity and following induction training etc. started driving in 2006. And apart from short break of two years or so, have been a driver ever since.
Having had personal experience of cancer, I have had great satisfaction in helping people in what is probably the most stressful time time of their lives and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone thinking of becoming a volunteer driver
Steve: I am proud to be part of the Primrose Car Service. A few years ago a very close friend of mine needed treatment at Radiotherapy Addenbrookes Hospital. After a great deal of worry about how he would get there everyday, he was Informed about this unique door to door transport service, and he was overwhelmed with relief to have all the stress taken away.
This inspired me to join and allow me to give a small something back, so when I retired I applied and after a relaxed interview and a short driving assessment I started.
The most enjoyable thing about becoming a driver for me is having the opportunity to meet all the patients who always seem so cheerful, positive and grateful for what we do for them. This is a great way to spend my spare time in such a worthwhile, very well organised and managed cause with a fantastic team of people.
If you are able to commit time (usually 1 day per week) thinking of volunteering, like meeting people, being part of a great team and want to do something very rewarding and worthwhile I can recommend the Primrose Car Service; it’s a great way to spend a day.
Peter: I retired four years ago and wanted to spend some of my newly acquired ‘free time’ volunteering as a driver because I enjoy driving, meeting and helping people, as well as having a very good sense of direction.
I approached the Primrose Car Service because my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer before the service was established, and we both remember all too well travelling to Addenbrokes Hospital under our own steam each day for three weeks when my wife had her radiotherapy treatment.
I thoroughly enjoy driving for the service, even more than I thought I would at the outset. Every trip is different, traffic levels vary enormously (but tailbacks on the A428 are a constant joy!), while you will be amazed how many ways there are to get around the Bedfordshire villages, as well as to then travel between Bedfordshire and Addenbrookes.
The greatest enjoyment, however, is to meet the patients – they are so grateful for the service we provide, as it means they can concentrate on their treatment without having to worry about how they will get to and from Addenbrookes. Travelling to and fro with other patients can often provide people with a support network and, for us, they are all a joy to spend time with on the journeys there and back.
To find out more about joining our team, click here.