Married volunteers, Paul and Debbie Esseen, help out at our hospice charity shops

Published on: 27/07/2021

Wallasey born and bred, Paul Esseen, had been living an everyday life with his wife Debbie when his dad, John, was diagnosed with a skin cancer which had metastasised.

In December 2019, John, (pictured here with Paul) came to Wirral Hospice St John’s where Paul’s mum, Kay, Debbie, and Paul would come to visit him.

Paul remembers,

I honestly had never thought of a hospice as a place that would impact our lives. When he was referred I still wasn’t sure but, from the moment my Dad was settled in, we all knew it was very much the best place for him. He was pain free and comfortable. I can’t speak highly enough of all the staff and volunteers who, at the time, made his stay so easy and welcoming.”

Sadly, in early 2020, John,  who had worked in Vauxhall’s for over 40 years, a loving husband to Kay, who loved his golf and a pint with pals from the Bronze Sports and Social Club and a valued member of his local community, passed away.

When the family had had time to grieve and reflect and began to look forward, it was Paul’s wife Debbie who first decided she could pay something back to the hospice by volunteering, which she duly did, at our Liscard charity shop.

Debbie volunteers for 4 hours every Tuesday morning under the guidance of shop manager, Mags, and alongside community stalwart volunteer, Ann Dermody. She says,

Liscard is a really busy shop. I look forward to seeing my volunteer friends each week and getting stuck in. Knowing everyone is giving their precious time to help such a great cause, which also means so much to Paul and I, is truly inspiring. Ann has been showing me the ropes and teaching me the till. Everyone in Wallasey seems to know her. She’s brilliant!”

Mags only allows good quality items onto the floor and people seem to flood in. They know they’re getting a bargain, even on quality larger items, but they’ll often put a bit more in or have a go at the hospice’s weekly lottery for a pound!

One older gentleman came in the other day and started reciting some poetry to us to say thanks. It really is heart-warming to be a part of it all.”

There are seven Wirral Hospice charity shops in Liscard, as mentioned, and also at Claughton, Heswall, West Kirby, Moreton, New Brighton and Birkenhead. They all rely on the dedication and commitment of around 120 volunteers giving their time, experience and expertise to ensure they run smoothly 6 days a week, Monday-Saturday.

What might not be as well known is that there is also a team of van drivers who drive all around the peninsula picking up larger items of furniture, sofas, 3 piece-suites, beds and bedroom furniture, display cabinets and the like which is, more often than not, heavy work.

Good job then that, at a tad over six feet tall, Paul, now also volunteers by lending a hand on the furniture pick-ups on a Thursday.

Paul loves the work,

I like teaming up with Allan (one of the hospice’s long serving pick-up and delivery drivers). We have a good chat on the way to jobs and then get stuck in to the work. We’re always busy but it’s always enjoyable and ultimately really worthwhile.”

So, husband and wife team, Paul and Debbie, give their time to the hospice, albeit at different times and places and Paul reinforces why they do it,

We’re proud to volunteer for the hospice. My Dad was treated like royalty there so we’re paying back a little bit for all the kindness shown to him.”

And thank you for your precious time too, Paul and Debbie, we are so grateful to you.


If you have some time to spare and feel you could help out at Wirral Hospice St John’s in one of our charity shops, then don’t hesitate to get in contact with us.

Check out in the first instance or, email

We’d love to hear from you.