Hospital volunteers celebrated at special event

Two men and women stood together, two holding certificates

Volunteers gathered for a special event to celebrate their contribution to patients, staff and visitors at North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT).

A celebratory afternoon tea, supported by Southmead Hospital Charity, was held at The Bristol Hotel to show appreciation for the volunteers who donate their time to support hospital services.

More than 30 volunteers also received long service awards for five, 10, 15 and 20 years of voluntary service during the event, which was hosted by NBT Chair Michele Romaine and Chief Nursing Officer Professor Steve Hams.

We have more than 350 volunteers and volunteer partners across NBT who collectively donated more than 28,000 hours of time during 2022.

Among the volunteers in attendance at the event were representatives from both the Southmead Hospital and Cossham Hospital League of Friends, Move Makers, Patient Befrienders, Ward Support volunteers, Patient and Carer Partners, Kidney Peer Mentors, Alcohol Peer Mentors, Major Trauma Volunteers, Purple Butterfly end of life volunteers, Pets as Therapy and Bristol Sight Loss Council.

Professor Steve Hams said: “I am proud to be the board member who has responsibility for volunteering at NBT and am a real champion of our volunteers and what they all bring to the organisation.

“I volunteered at the start of my career and recognise the value of being a volunteer and the huge contribution every one of our volunteers makes to the experience of patients, staff and visitors to our services every day. A huge thank you to all of you for everything you do.”

Michele Romaine said: “Volunteers make such an enormous contribution to what happens at NBT, both to staff and to patients and it was fantastic to be able to gather in person once again to celebrate and thank our wonderful volunteers.”

The first award of the afternoon was made posthumously to Sue Moore-Lynch for five years of service supporting Southmead Hospital Charity by selling hundreds of dolls she had knitted.

Sue’s husband Tony, pictured – who also collected his own five-year long service award for volunteering for the charity – said “she must have sold around £6,000 worth”.

“She always knitted and was such a good knitter. We used to sell the dollies in the hospital, and then during Covid we sold them through our front window.

“We’ve still got at least £400 worth left to sell.”

Tony started volunteering for Southmead Hospital Charity almost eight years ago, during fundraising for the Prostate Cancer Appeal to fund a new surgical robot and Sue joined him volunteering for the charity.

“I was very proud to be there, accepting Sue’s award for her”, Tony added.

Benita Hobbs received an award for 10 years of volunteering. Having started out as a volunteer in the old Avon Orthopaedic Centre before the Brunel building opened. She then spent time as a Move Maker, also supported Gate 9, and then when the Macmillan Wellbeing Centre opened started volunteering there.

“I’m front of house and meet people and make them feel welcome and relaxed when they come in,” Benita said.

“When people come into the Macmillan Centre they can be poorly and distressed and I sit down with them and have a chat. We have literature and signpost to services such as the Citizens Advice service and help them with anything at all that they are worried about.

“It just gives you such satisfaction.”

Southmead Hospital League of Friends Chair, Mike Long, received an award for 15 years of volunteer service.

The League of Friends run a cafe and shop in the Brunel building, supported by approximately 30 volunteers, and the money they make supports the hospital.

Mike wanted to support the hospital after he had a kidney transplant because he feels it’s “nice to be able to give something back”.

His wife Jenny, a former nurse, also received a long service award, for her 10 years of volunteering for the League of Friends.

“I think the League of Friends do a fantastic job,” he said.

“From my point of view, it’s very satisfying that we are able to give this service with the volunteers we have got.

  “I think we’ve raised about £1.5 million over the years.”

Mike also joined NBT Chair Michele Romaine to present a long service award to Sandra Stocker in recognition of the 25 years she has managed the League of Friends Café.

Muriel Carter was presented with an award for her 20 years of service, volunteering in the Cossham League of Friends cafe.

“I am one of life’s volunteers”, she said.

“I always volunteer for everything.

“You know that when you are volunteering you will make a little bit of a difference.”

Pianist and Move Maker, Jan Bartlett, also received a certificate to mark her 20 years of volunteering