Volunteer of the Month - May 2020 - Jean Godfrey

Posted by Victoria Leedham

A huge number of people will be understanding, but still sad to learn that Jean Godfrey (or Queen Jean as she’s affectionately known) has reflected during lockdown and sensibly decided that the time has come to hang up her pinny and retire from volunteering at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People.

Jean has been a much-loved familiar face in The Barn staff and volunteer restaurant for the last 8 years on Wednesday and Friday mornings, helping with a multitude of tasks that make life at The Grange run smoothly, especially when there’s a clean mug to start the day!

Jean keeps The Barn shining like a new pin, ploughs through washing up, ensures everywhere is tidy, cutlery and crockery replenished, trays stacked, and the hot drinks machines gleaming! Senior Receptionist, Emma Whenray, says: “You can always tell when Jean is volunteering as the place looks so smart!”

“What most of us love most though is just having a chat with Jean. She always makes time to say hello and to ask how people are doing, often quietly dusting and polishing as she talks. What starts out as a quick coffee refill stop often becomes a lengthier stay, but you always go back to work with a smile on your face after catching up with Jean.”


Thursday is often a baking day for Jean, and many of us are lucky enough to enjoy a wedge of Lemon Drizzle, Chocolate or Coffee & Walnut cake on Fridays. Jean is known as a generous baker and sometimes it’s all three!

Jean’s cakes have graced a great many stalls at Hearing Dogs, and she has helped out at most of these events too. She’s an early riser so always on duty well ahead of time, spends hours on her feet, and seems to want for nothing other than a simple black coffee. And only that when she’s practically forced to sit down!

Another talent of Jean’s is her floristry. She’s a member of a local society and not only has she often provided Hearing Dogs with beautiful table flowers and arrangements; she’s also welcomed one of our volunteer speakers to her group. Green fingers certainly run in the family - one of Jean’s daughters works at Haddenham Garden Centre who have been generous to Hearing Dogs both in terms of plants and also welcoming our puppies-in-training through their doors, all thanks to the connection with Jean.

West Highland Terriers are the breed of dog that Jean’s owned, but she could not be fonder of all the Poodles, Cockapoos, Spaniels and Labradors she’s met whilst volunteering in The Barn and always keeps a keen eye out for the many pups she’s sponsored through our Puppy Sponsorship Scheme. Jean has sponsored puppies for herself and her grandchildren, always supports our raffles, and has even got involved with the marketing of these products as Tanya Smith, Direct and Digital Marketing Fundraiser, explains:

“Jean was a valuable part of our Black Lab Friday and Christmas campaigns last year, offering her assistance and smile to help attract other sponsors like her. Her picture was included on Facebook and in total the advert produced over 150 new puppy sponsorships which is such a valuable contribution to the charity. I remember there was no hesitation when we asked her to have a photo taken and explained what we would use the pictures for. It was a real bonus that Jean knows all about puppy sponsorship and the regular pupdates from years of giving to the scheme herself.”

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We know we will continue to be able to call on her if we’re short-handed, there’s an event or if we simply can’t live without her famous bakes! We also hope very much that – when we emerge from lockdown and social distancing – Jean will pop in to say hello with the latest novel she’s read to add to the bookcase she meticulously maintained.

Jane Albin, Fundraising Database Coordinator, recounts: “Jean has been a stalwart of fundraising for such a long time with both her legendary baking and her managing of the pre-loved books and donations in The Barn restaurant.  She has made sure the books are regularly refreshed and that the collection tin is always safely accounted for.”

Speaking for all of us Jane says: “It’s been so lovely to see Jean each week for a cheery catch up as she busies around, being as helpful and hard working as she possibly can.” Everyone at The Grange is thankful for the thousands of mugs she must’ve washed over the years, the clean tables they’ve sat down at, and the commitment and care Jean has brought to all her volunteering and fundraising for Hearing Dogs. We really hope it won’t be too long until we can see her to say a proper thank you in person.


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About the author

Victoria Leedham

Hello, I’m Victoria and Head of Volunteering at Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. It’s my privilege to celebrate and share stories about our wonderful volunteer family.

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