Dorothy House’s resident quizmaster hangs up his mic

After 19 years and 54 quizzes, Paul Hewitt is ending his quizmaster reign. Having raised over £32,000 for Dorothy House doing something he loves, we wanted to ask him about his quizzing experiences and volunteering over the years.

Why did you choose to raise money for Dorothy House?

“My first wife died of cancer in 1987 and was under the care of Dorothy House. My second wife, Bernie, started volunteering for Dorothy House about 27 years ago, long before me. I started at Dorothy House in 2004 having always wanted to do something for them.”

How did your quizzing hobby start?

“It all started at the Frome Festival twenty years ago. The chap who had been running the quiz had moved to Cornwall. I stepped in and from there I started quizzing for Dorothy House in 2008. I’ve enjoyed doing it so much, it’s a hobby I always wanted to take up. I love quizzes – I was even on The Chase on TV last year (Series 13, Episode 208), and between three of us we won £11,000!”

Dorothy House quizmaster retires

What do you enjoy about it?

“I love to make the quiz entertaining. I just can’t sit still, so I walk around the tables with the mic, chatting with the participants, maybe picking out a particular table to banter with and poke a bit of fun at. They love it and they poke fun right back at me! I like to make it feel a bit showbiz.

I really enjoy all the oddity questions and how seriously people take them. For example, at one quiz I asked ‘What is the last area in Britain to be named a National Park?’ The answer was the New Forest. Six weeks later at another quiz I was holding I asked the same question and was told I was wrong! It turns out just three weeks before that the South Downs had become a National Park.

Another time, I asked the question ‘What is unusual about a Himalayan mountain goat’s eyes?’ The answer is that their pupils are particularly rectangular as they need better peripheral vision than normal goats. Six months later one of the attendees stopped me in the street and showed me a photo of one they had just seen on a trek in the Himalayas! I was glad to see my answer was correct.

I never, ever, downloaded any quiz rounds. I constructed each quiz to suit various clientele, but obviously I did research on the internet to check answers. You can’t be too careful.

Over the years I’ve held quizzes across Dorothy House’s community patch; in Winsley, Malmesbury, Corsham, Bath, Bradford on Avon and Devizes. I’ve particularly enjoyed quizzing with the Malmesbury lot – they treat me like royalty!”


Do you do any other volunteering for Dorothy House?

“Bernie and I have done all sorts for the Hospice; driving patients, Open Gardens stewarding, even walking on hot coals! At the moment we both volunteer at Frome Furniture doing a variety of things, and I do the banking for all three Frome shops. I also volunteer in the Finance department up at Winsley.”

What’s been your best moment with Dorothy House?

“I was nominated by Dorothy House for an award for distinguished voluntary service given by the League of Mercy Foundation in London. Bernie and I were whisked off to London for the day and presented with a medal at Mansion House by Lord Lingfield. That was an incredible day.

Rachel Stewart (Head of Volunteer Services) was fantastic that day, nothing was too much trouble. My daughter-in-law to-be has asked me to wear it at my son’s wedding later this year.

Another great moment was when Bernie and I both jointly won Dorothy House’s Volunteer of the Year Award in 2017. Bernie’s been volunteering for Dorothy House for 26 years, even longer than I have.”

Why are you retiring as Dorothy House’s quizmaster?

“If you’re a sportsman, you have to know when to stop. I’ve had such a good run, why not stop while you’re at the top? I’ve loved every minute and I wouldn’t want anything to spoil that. I’ve had some cracking nights out. It’s hard work but well worth it. I couldn’t have done it all without the support of Bernie.”

Thank you from us all at Dorothy House

A huge thank you to Paul and Bernie for all their efforts fundraising and volunteering for Dorothy House over so many years. We’re sorry our quizmaster is hanging up his mic, but are really glad he’ll be sticking around as a volunteer for a little while longer!

There are lots of different ways to get involved with Dorothy House. Take a look here to see how you can help us to continue to provide outstanding palliative care for our community.