Inspired Ashgate volunteer’s career swap

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A bank worker has been inspired to go back to university and study medicine after volunteering at a hospice in Derbyshire.

James Wilcockson, from Chesterfield, decided to make the career change after helping patients at Ashgate Hospice.

The 35-year-old will trade in his job as a project manager for HSBC to attend four years of medical school in Swansea.

James began volunteering at the hospice after leaving the Territorial Army and enrolling on a masters course in business administration.

He said: “Plan A had been to complete the masters and continue to develop my career at HSBC, but the enjoyment and satisfaction I got from working with people at the hospice led me to completely reassess things. It’s just so rewarding.

“The doctors and nursing staff at Ashgate are just brilliant. They were very inspirational and whatever I do in medicine will definitely involve a high level of social contact with patients.”

James, who previously completed a pharmaceutics degree, will begin his studies at the University of Swansea in September. He is also taking part in several fundraising events for the hospice, including the Ironman Triathlon in Bolton.

The father-of-one said: “My father was a pharmacist and my mum worked as a pharmacy assistant at Chesterfield Royal but when I went to university first time round I did not have the focus, I wasn’t ready for a career in medicine.

“Becoming a father and the experience of volunteering at Ashgate has given me that focus and drive.”

Ashgate Hospice has launched a recruitment drive for volunteers after admissions soared by 20 per cent last year.

Voluntary services co-ordinator Debbie Fennell said: “Volunteers are an incredibly important part of the team at Ashgate and help us deliver high quality care and support to the people of North Derbyshire who need us.”

For information about volunteering, contact Debbie on 01246 568801.