A CHARITY dedicated to ensuring nobody dies alone has been inundated with volunteers thanks to kind-hearted Daily Echo readers.

Macmillan Caring Locally, which provides palliative care at Christchurch Hospital and in the community, now even has enough specialist end of life volunteers to train to benefit other Dorset charities.

Thanks to an appeal in the Daily Echo, the charity received 119 enquiries with 20 people now trained for the special roles.

Unlike medics or friends and family, who may be overcome with emotion, end of life volunteers who are calm, kind, compassionate and caring sit with strangers simply listening to them as they come to terms with their death and help them find peace in their final moments.

Volunteer coordinator Anita Rigler said: "There was a very heartfelt reaction to the article. "We are absolutely delighted with everyone we have got on board and so amazed we have had such an incredible feedback that word is spreading and the project can really spread its wings.

"We can't say thank you enough. The compassion that comes from these volunteers is unbelievable. It's never about them. It's always about the person they are supporting in their final moments.

"One lady said 'I just realised what I was meant to do when I read that article in the Echo.' It's amazing."

The idea was launched earlier this year thanks to Macmillan Caring Locally volunteer Jed Place whose god father died in hospital alone two years ago after his wife suffered a major stroke and was being cared for by the family.

He said: “It was a terrible time and knowing he died alone left everyone feeling guilty to this day.

“To have had a volunteer advocate who could have sat with him whilst he died would have made all the difference to the family.

"I feel incredibly proud of what has been achieved. I suppose it speaks volumes for the cause we are trying to help. There are such a lot of good people out there."

Jed enlisted the help of Christchurch Conservative Club who helped raise more than £8,000 to make the project a reality.

Anita added: “Thanks to this funding, Macmillan Caring Locally are not only actively training these very special volunteers but are also looking to develop a community support role plus we have also been approached by several other charities such as Christchurch Angels, Lewis Manning, MND Association so people who have come to us we are now training and giving to other charities.

“Noone should die alone. But this is not a role anyone can do. The biggest quality they have is understanding, to understand they have to just be there for someone. They are not there to fix anything, just to be there for hours, which is a really hard thing to do.

“I still cannot believe the support we have received from Christchurch Conservative Club members. They have left a huge legacy which we will honour by making sure not only our patients are supported by volunteers but other charity volunteers as well.”

Lucy Short, senior support volunteer, said: “Sometimes I sit with a stranger as they die and am more humbled and honoured than I ever thought imaginable. Finding the right people to join us has been very time consuming but we now have a fabulous new team who all have the right values and attitudes towards the role.”