The Dunlop Friends Group are celebrating their 40th anniversary this summer. The original five members founded the group in July 1984 when the Ayrshire Hospice was only a dream. The founding members were Anne Mundell, Jennifer Hunter, Annette Brown, Hazel Mulberry, and the first Chairperson, Aileen Howie. All five ladies stayed with the group for at least 35 years, each gradually retiring since 2020, with the last few, Hazel and Annette, stepping down only last year.

Left to right: Annette Brown and Hazel Mulberry - original committee members of the group.

The Hospice team caught up with Hazel and Annette at the group's annual Cream Tea last month and asked them what kept them going for 39 years. Hazel said, "We simply wanted to help the hospice, and knowing that we were helping to raise money to keep the hospice going was all the motivation we needed. We also enjoyed organising events in our local community. Continuing the tradition of hosting such gatherings is important; it brings the community together and encourages everyone to socialise." Annette agreed and added, "We all became such good friends, we did so much together and over the years we had a lot of fun!"

The group continues to go from strength to strength, with long-term members bringing lots of experience and new members giving a fresh energy. The annual Cream Tea earlier this year raised £3,417.00, and that is just one of the events held by the group. They also host a Christmas Fair in November, look after all the collection cans in the area, and sell Christmas cards to local rural groups and Dunlop residents.

The Ayrshire Hospice would like to thank everyone involved with the Dunlop Friends Group, past and present. The hard work, passion, and commitment shown to supporting the Hospice is truly inspirational, and we wish you all a very Happy 40th Anniversary!