To passers-by, Chris Jordan looks the picture of a dedicated professional gardener as he lovingly tends the flower-beds and shrubs outside Butterfly House, the home of The South Bucks Community Hospice.
But gardening is just a passion for Chris – who is, in fact, a distinguished pharmacologist with a PhD.
He retired three years ago after a career spanning more than three decades, during which he helped identify and develop new drugs for patients.
Among Dr Jordan’s career highlights was working as part of a team on an award-winning drug, ondansetron (known as Zofran), to treat the severe nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy treatment.
Chris, a father-of-two from Iver, having been a lecturer at University College London, subsequently worked for several drug companies. As he neared retirement, he began searching for alternative ways to fill his time.
He then bumped into the hospice's CEO at a fundraising event and agreed to meet with her to discuss volunteering after he retired.
He recalled: “I told her I quite liked gardening and I now help maintain the garden at Butterfly House where the hospice is based. I also provide help writing grant applications and maintaining a database with the fundraising group. I am just part of a team that aims to improve the lot of others who are suffering life-limiting illnesses.”
Chris, 70, is also an Iver parish councillor and his wife, Jilly, is a member of South Bucks District Council.
But he said: “The hospice is not a place where egos are of any value – you just lend a hand when you can. Much of my time here is spent maintaining the gardens, the activities changing with the seasons. The gardens are a great asset to the hospice. They provide a place of peace and tranquillity, and so the work brings its own rewards.”
Chris agreed to take part in this article to try to encourage others to come forward to volunteer.
“Volunteering is very rewarding because you get appreciation from both staff and patients. You don’t have to commit huge amounts of time and there are a number of different roles you can take to fit your own talents and preferences,” he said.
“I just feel I have had a pretty good life and have been fortunate in many ways so I want to put something back into society.”
* If you are interested in joining Chris and the volunteering team at Butterfly House, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01494 552761