Hospital volunteers recognised
11 June 2015
Volunteers at Southend Hospital got a small but richly-deserved thank-you for all their hard work at an awards and buffet reception evening recently.
This year marked the second Volunteer Achievement Awards, an
accolade which, as well as honouring long-standing volunteers
nominated by their managers, also recognised the contribution of
relative newcomers who have gone the extra mile.
The event, combined with a thank-you party for all volunteers,
was held at the Saxon Hall, Aviation Way, Southend and was attended
by hospital chairman Alan Tobias and chief executive Sue Hardy, who
awarded the honours between them.
Mr Tobias told the assembled audience that he felt 'humbled' by
their contribution. "You just cannot put a price on what you do -
this hospital couldn't function without you," he added.
The hospital has over 450 volunteers who all provide priceless
support to the hospital, helping patients, visitors and staff alike
and more than 120 of them enjoyed a welcome drink, a buffet supper
View photos from the evening here on the official Southend Hospital Facebook
Volunteer Achievement Award Winners
Best fundraising volunteer
Nicola Drabble, Leigh-on-Sea
Nikki was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003 and since then
has been one of the most enduring fundraisers for our breast
The 55-year-old mother-of-two has raised more than £10,000 for
our Bosom Pals Appeal through her annual her Pink Summer Ball.
More than 100 guests attend this black tie event, held at Thorpe
Bay Golf Club and now in its eighth year.
Over the past two years Nikki has also turned her formidable
organisational abilities to helping to organise 'Southend
Hospital's Got Talent' held at the Palace Theatre, Westcliff. This
highly-popular talent show has so far helped raise more than £8,000
for the hospital's Accident and Emergency Department.
Nikki will be instrumental in the fourth Southend Hospital's Got
Talent being held later this year, this time to help dementia
patients at the hospital. She also recently organised a race night
at the Saxon Hall which raised a significant sum for our memory
It has become a cause close to her heart; her late father-in-law
suffered from Alzheimer's disease.
Best Newcomer Award
Doris Norwood, Benfleet
Doris was one of the first maternity unit volunteers recruited
back in October 2012, and since then the 68 year oldhas acted as
something of a mentor for many young volunteers looking to become
The role of a maternity unit volunteer is to sit at reception
desk at the entrance to the maternity unit to answer the intercom,
and then to meet, greet and direct women, partners and visitors to
the correct destination.
Doris has a quiet and calming manner, is wonderful with anxious
visitors and provides a great service on the staff's behalf,
helping families find their way if they don't know where to go.
Nothing is too much trouble for Doris. She also assists with
questionnaires and audits as part of her role which is a great help
to the unit.
Feedback from visitors is so positive - that it's nice to
see a friendly face and to receive a warm welcome. She has also
reported concerns so that appropriate action can be taken.
Happy to Help Award
Peter Zammitt, Benfleet
After taking early retirement, Peter worked for several years as
a voluntary driver with our Carecars scheme, running people to and
from their hospital appointments and was very popular with
patients. He is a kind and cheery chap, and if he can help, he
Last year he became part of the Pharmacy team, delivering
samples rather than patients, and shuttles four days a week between
Southend Hospital and Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.
Such is his 'can do' attitude that he was recently asked by the
renal unit to be the sole driver for a terminally ill young man
undergoing dialysis. Peter, 60, now takes him home for treatment
three times a week.
His kindness and willingness to help is well-known to us here at
voluntary services and fundraising. He is always available if we
need help picking items from our charity shop or chauffeuring a
special guest to one of our fundraisers.
His last mission was to pick up and deliver our 6ft furry mascot
costume - Buddy Bear, a little stale from many appearances at
fundraising events and collections - to a specialist dry-cleaners
for a thorough freshen-up.
Alan Willis, Leigh-on-Sea
Alan, 71, has been the Chair of the Audiology User Group for the
past few years and has worked tirelessly to lead our group in
aspiring to achieve service excellence.
He undertakes an enormous amount of unpaid work on the group's
behalf, has liaised with voluntary bodies and charities such as
Action on Hearing Loss (formerly the RNID) in joint working
initiatives, has helped to forge greater relationships with allied
services such as Essex Cares (the equipment arm of social services)
in Essex, and the equivalent in the unitary borough of
Through these ventures the hospital has improved and integrated
aspects of service provision for patients.
He has coordinated the (sometimes diverse) views of the group
members and used this to achieve service improvements on a very
practical level too. For example, he identified the need for extra
hearing aid battery outlets, which the Audiology team were then
able to organise.
"Alan is a consummate professional - he is most respectful of
professional services and diplomatic in all his dealings with
organizations, often checking with us first on his approach and
actions. He is very much a model for team-working - from a patient
involvement point of view," adds clinical lead Linda Grimmett.
Group Award, Friends and Family Team
The Friends and Family is a survey whose basic premise is to
ascertain patient satisfaction with the hospital - and whether they
would recommend the hospital to their friends and family.
This group of volunteers speak to patients about their
experience and ask them to complete a friends and family postcard
and pop it into a box on the ward.
Volunteers then later collect these responses from all wards,
Outpatients and A&E. The information then forms part of the
data the hospital uses to make service improvements.
Volunteers, who work on a rota basis, also phone patients about
their experience and pass on important responses.
The group are a friendly face on the ward and have time to stop
and chat to patients. A lot of them also clock up a fair few miles
walking around the hospital!
Castle Point Ward Group Award, Feeding
Our team of Buddies are very attentive to meeting patient's
needs - often going above and beyond their duty. As with all
Buddies, they perform a vital role in sitting down and spending
time talking to patients, helping them to eat, chatting and making
them feel at ease.
Castle Point ward Buddies recently came to a meeting outside
their normal allocated times and helped the ward to discuss
problems we were having with the catering service. They are
always happy and smiling and fit in with our busy ward. They
have made a huge difference to our patient meal times.
Some members of the team are so good at what they do that they
have become Feeding Buddy 'mentors' - volunteers who help to train
new recruits. They are a committed bunch and thoroughly deserve
Team Award, Hospital Library Service
The library service was set up in 2009 and runs three mornings a
week. It relies on donations of good-quality paperbacks which are
cleaned before being sorted onto trolleys and taken to appropriate
There is a whole selection of reads to pick from, catering to
all tastes, but nothing too racy!
Always smiling and friendly, the team always go the extra mile
by spending time talking and making patients feel as comfortable as
possible. Patients look forward to their visits. They really are a
great team and an asset to the hospital.
Long Service Awards
These are given to volunteers with ten or more years of
serviceBetween them, the following group have more than 70 years
dedicated service to the hospital
Norma Brown, 75, Southend
This glamorous great-grandmother has been an elegant fixture at
the information desks at the old main entrance and at the Tower
Block since joining us from the MIND charity shop in Leigh Broadway
ten years ago.
Norma knows the hospital like the back of her hand and can
frequently be found escorting patients to and from their clinics.
She is a lively and chatty volunteer, who always has time for a
kindly word with staff and patients alike
Pat McDonald, 79, Southend
Pat was inspired to volunteer at the hospital after seeing the
care her late husband Peter received from our staff. After a
22-year career putting together components for electrical company
EK Cole, based in Priory Crescent, she then transferred to Access
in the eight years before her retirement.
The grandmother-of-three joined the hospital in 2003 and has
worked on the Tower Block information desk ever since. She is a
popular member of the team and is kind and considerate, popular
with her colleagues.
John Fowler, 67, Shoebury
John began working as a voluntary Carecars driver in 2004, and
is well-known and liked by the hundreds of patients he has taken to
and from the hospital over this time.
He is still a reliable and committed member of the Carecars
team, and popular with his colleagues.
John is a passionate Southend United fan and is also a cricket
buff, regularly travelling to Chelmsford to watch Essex in
Moira Bateman, 67, Thorpe Bay
Moira is an ever-smiling calm and capable member of the Tower
Block outpatient volunteer team, who is immensely popular with her
colleagues. She started her volunteering career back in 1992,
working on what was then the WRVS trolley service. She left after
four years to get a job, but returned in 2002 to the information
She now helps check patients in at the self-service kiosks and
provides words of comfort and reassurance at all times.
Djanet Cheshire, 81, Quorn Gardens
Djanet - pronounced Janet - joined the hospital in 2003 after a
long career working as a community dental services manager. She
began volunteering in the outpatients department where she helped
escort patients to their appointments. A year later she transferred
to our Accident and Emergency Department, running errands and
helping out staff.
After seven years she moved once more - this time to the
information desk in the Prittlewell Wing. Always cheery and often
feisty, she has now enlisted her husband Malcolm to the hospital
cause - for the last two years he has helped out at our Leigh
Lifetime Achievement Award
John Gibson, Westcliff
Since 1992, John's charity, the Advanced Surgical Equipment
Trust (ASET) has helped re-equip our theatres, critical care and
high dependency units and has since provided the latest
cutting-edge equipment for virtually every area of the hospital
including stroke, physiotherapy, rheumatology and research and
Funds are raised through John and his colleagues going out and
giving talks to clubs and associations as well as street
collections. Over the years John has tirelessly addressed many
hundreds of organisations with fervour and passion.
John was made an MBE in the 1995 New Year's Honours for services
to the community. Despite handing over the chairmanship of ASET to
long-standing friend and colleague, former hospital chairman John
Bruce, he still intends to remain very heavily involved with the
technological and purchasing side of ASET.
He admits to gaining huge satisfaction from funding and seeing
installed the most up-to-date medical and surgical equipment which
he believes gives confidence to patients coming into Southend
University Hospital and their families.
We are greatly indebted to John's many years of energetic and
dedicated work to provide our hospital with so much cutting-edge
equipment and are delighted to present him with this extremely
well-deserved lifetime's achievement award.