Hospital pays tribute to work of its volunteers at special Hospital Honours awards and reception event
28 May 2013
Southend Hospital chairman Alan Tobias paid a heartfelt thank you hospital volunteers who between them have notched up more than 100 years service to helping patients.
Eight individuals were awarded Hospital Honours - a
specially-made medal given to volunteers with more than 10 years
service at the hospital.
The chairman told the gathering: "It is a pleasure and a
privilege to stand here today to thank you."
The winners were:
- Elizabeth Brewster, 78, who works in the main outpatients and
in the maternity unit reception
- Jackie Buckley, 79, a Carecars voluntary driver
- Margaret (Peggy) Chapman, 79, a patient information
- Liz Denney, 70, a central information volunteer
- Shirley Evans, 79, a patient information desk volunteer
- Mary Eyers, 75, a kiosk volunteer in main outpatients
- Doris Trunley, 78, a central information desk volunteer
- Peter Walker, 86, a Carecars voluntary driver
Peggy spent the last 15 years of her working life at the
hospital's pathology labs and loved her job so much that she
retired and came back as a volunteer.
She said: "I thoroughly enjoy volunteering. People can be very
stressed when they are booking in for appointments. I always try
and be light-hearted, and when they say they can't book themselves
in using the new technology, I say to them 'well if an old biddy
like me can do it, anyone can!"
Peter Walker became a volunteer almost 18 years ago following
retirement from a career in finance. "My wife Connie wanted me out
of the house, so she suggested the hospital," he explains.
"I enjoy the driving. I always know that the patients are going
to be nervous about their appointment or procedure, so I always try
and distract them by starting a conversation, and we normally end
up having a nice chat."
Afterwards, more than 100 volunteers turned up to a reception to
say thank you for all their hard work.
Veteran volunteer Jack Callaway, who has been unwell recently,
also managed to make an appearance in a wheelchair - straight from
his hospital bed and prior to being discharged.
Jack, who works on the information desk at the old main entrance
of the hospital, had been in Rochford Ward but was determined to
make the event. "I had to come and say hello," he said.
Known as the 'eyes and ears' of the hospital, the
grandfather-of-four from Southend was pushed by his old friend
and colleague Pearl Naylor, (fourth from right), currently the
longest-serving volunteer at the hospital, with more than 37
years of service under her belt.
Pearl, 86, from Thorpe Bay, was awarded the MBE in 2011 for
services to charity. She also helps out at Fair Havens and the
Stroke Club at St Mary's Hall in Prittlewell.
During her distinguished career at the hospital, Pearl helped
set up what is now the Carecars scheme and also established the
information desks to help patients find their way to their
appointments, two vital schemes she started as a volunteer
"I just like to help," she says. "I just think I am one of those
people who was born to care."
The afternoon held a bittersweet note for voluntary services
manager Christine Miller, (pictured, front, with Jack), who retired
after 16 years in the role, the last three years on a part-time
Chris, 63, helped set up the Feeding Buddies scheme - mealtime
assistants who help encourage elderly and vulnerable patients to
eat - as well as recruiting white-coated, yellow-sashed hospital
guides to help take patients to clinics at various points around
However, the Canvey gran plans to come back in the autumn as a
temporary member of staff working on an ad hoc basis, once her
third grandchild is born this summer.
Beth has been a volunteer since 2002. She was originally in the
Renal Unit and then moved to the busy information desk in the main
outpatient department before joining the newly-formed information
team in the maternity unit earlier this year. Always enthusiastic
and ready for new challenges, Beth knows the location of just about
every clinic and department in the hospital and thoroughly deserves
to be recognised for her volunteering.
Jackie became a voluntary driver for our patient transport
scheme in 1999 after previously driving for 'Give-a-Lift' in the
community and working at the Maybrook Day Centre for some
years. She has always had great rapport with the patients and
is a popular member of the 'Carecars' team. Her loyalty and
support to the hospital, despite some recent ill health, has always
shone through and Jackie deserves the recognition for which this
Peggy began as a volunteer on our busy information desk in the
main outpatients department, where her time as a special constable
in the late sixties stood her in good stead dealing with the many
visitors to this busy area.
When the new outpatient area was built, Peggy opted to help out
on the newly-installed patient information kiosks and remains an
asset to the department assisting people with checking in, which
ensures the smooth running of the clinics.
After retiring from her job as a secretary in 2003, Liz decided
to apply to become a volunteer here at Southend on our central
information desk where she has remained. Liz has a natural
way with the patients and visitors visiting this area and also
shows great compassion to the visitors who come to our bereavement
suite. She is nominated for her loyal support and long service to
Shirley began her volunteering duties in 2001 on the information
desk in outpatients and when this area was refurbished decided to
turn her hand to assisting with the many patients checking into to
the newly established patient information kiosks. Shirley's
knowledge and knack of putting people at ease has been a great
asset and has eased the pressure from busy staff in this
area. This award would be an ideal way of recognising her
long support to the hospital.
A volunteer here since 2000, Mary is a valuable member of the
information team in the OPD area with her knowledge of the hospital
and pleasant manner when dealing with the many visitors to the
desk. Always reliable and willing to assist, Mary is worthy
recipient of this award in recognition of her longstanding
Doris was a secretary with the St John Ambulance, Rayleigh for
many years and then with the WRVS locally, also assisting with the
Meals on Wheels service before becoming a volunteer here at the
hospital in 2003. Dorisfirst volunteered in the Breast Unit
and then moved to work as a hostess in the main OPD area which she
thoroughly enjoyed. After a break from volunteering Doris
returned a few years ago and is now enjoying manning the central
information desk. Always smiling and ready to help Doris
deserves to be recognised for the support she has given to the
Peter became a voluntary driver with Carecars in 1995 and has
been a stalwart support of the scheme ever since. To have achieved
just over 18 years service is outstanding and Peter remains a
valuable member of the team. Always a gentleman, he is polite
and helpful with the patients and enjoys his volunteering