Farewell to our record collector Martin after 20 years at Prospect Hospice

May 2019


This week, Prospect Hospice says goodbye to former Assistant Manager of the Commercial Road Books and Music shop, Martin Roche, who retires after 20 years working and volunteering for the charity.

Martin primarily worked in retail at Prospect Hospice where he put two of his passions to good use: chatting to the general public and selling records. It was his love of music and record collecting that got him noticed by the former manager of the Havelock Mews shop, Hazel Maule, and kick-started his career with Prospect Hospice.

“I was thumbing through the vinyl selection when Hazel approached me and we struck up a conversation. I mentioned I’d been made redundant and she offered me a role to look through the records,” says Martin. “She also offered me a cup of tea and some biscuits, so how could I refuse? Make me a cuppa and I’m anybody’s!”

Martin worked part-time at Havelock Mews for two years and then became a driver for the hospice, collecting donations from people’s houses to take to the shops all over Swindon and the surrounding areas. “Back then the Distribution Centre didn’t exist, so we used to unload the contents of the vans into a shed behind what is now the Fundraising Office at the Prospect Hospice Head Office,” he recalls. “Our vans weren’t like the big ones you have now – these were little Honda vans that, if you had a particular heavy load, could be a bit wobbly on country roads!”

Martin also worked for a stint as a bank manager, filling in whenever needed as the number of Prospect shops grew, before he landed his role at the Commercial Road shop. One of Martin’s highlights of working there was designing the layout of the record shelving with the assistance of our current Retail Administrator, Ali Moore – something he is still very proud of today.

Being around people comes naturally to Martin – his background is in drama (both performing and teaching) and his bubbly personality has helped him explain to his customers what the hospice is all about. “To me, the shops are the human side of the hospice outside of the hospice,” he says. “It’s the gateway where people can find out what it’s really like without actually going to it, simply by talking about it. I loved having that social side of the job and the opportunity to reassure people that a hospice was about more than being a place to die.”

Now that he is retired, Martin plans to do more of what he loves best: music. “My wife and I are going on a ‘rock n’ roll cruise’ in August, and then I will attempt to write some articles for rock magazines,” he says with a smile. “I also play drums, so there’s an opportunity to do something with that. Aside from the music, I hope to spend some time with my grandchildren.”

As for volunteering again for Prospect Hospice, Martin chuckles. “The Distribution Centre want me to swing by already, so I hope to do that in September. Never say never!”

Good luck in your retirement, Martin, and thank you for all your hard work.

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