Telling your stories – the Dorothy House Life Story project

  • 4 March, 2024
  • News

Many people consider their life stories to be ordinary, but at Dorothy House we recognise that everyone’s experience is unique. In the tales of magnificent adventures or the small, everyday moments, we believe that enabling people to capture their memories offers meaning not only to the storyteller, but also to their loved ones.

With this is mind, 2023 saw us relaunch the Dorothy House Life Story project, offering our patients and clients the opportunity to tell their stories.

What is the Dorothy House Life Story project?

Whether we are capturing our memories for our loved ones or taking time to explore our memories just for ourselves, documenting the chapters of our lives can bring meaning, value and a sense of purpose at a challenging time, often bringing a welcome relief from medical appointments and the focus on illness. This volunteer-led service aims to encourage patients to enjoy this process purely for themselves, to document their own part of history, or maybe to leave it for loved ones, giving the opportunity to enjoy time with their memories and share all that they have accumulated over the years.

Life Story with Dorothy House

The project can be simple or ambitious – often creating personal messages in the form of letters, keepsakes, voice recordings, poetry, drawings, collating photos or collecting found objects for a memory box…the possibilities are endless. Our Life Story team is here to guide participants through the many options which enable the individual to document their life chapters. We meet for six sessions which can be held anywhere – at the Hospice, the person’s home or even a local café. Although it can feel daunting to start, our specialist volunteers are here to guide the process and enable everyone to choose their individual way of expressing themselves.

How Life Stories help

Our patients also find that telling their life stories can be therapeutic – a way to understand feelings and to engage with the past. Making sense of what we have lived through, reflecting on the highs and lows of these times. It is in the retelling of these stories that we often come across new perspectives and relive the preciousness of these significant or even long forgotten memories.

“Ultimately, the richest resource for meaning and healing is one we already possess. It rests (mostly untapped) in the material of our own life story, in the sprawling, many layered text that has been accumulating within us across the years, weaving itself in the depths of, and as, our life” – Kenyon and Randell.

Meet one of our volunteers…

Felicity Simpson Morfey has recently trained as one of our Life Story volunteers:

Dorothy House Life Story Project volunteer, Felicity.

“I am both a trained birth and postnatal doula, and a Dorothy House life story volunteer. For me, the way we leave the world is just as important as the way we come into it. The training Dorothy House offers its volunteers has been really amazing – from day one I have felt like such a valued member of the team. I have now started working with patients, helping one of them to voice record stories for their grandchildren which has been a really special experience. It can be difficult at times, as often when people start thinking about what they are leaving behind they are already very ill, but it’s a real privilege to help people leave special memories for their loved ones.”

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering for Dorothy House, please contact