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Southend Hospital’s volunteers achievement awards

12 June 2016


More than 140 volunteers at Southend Hospital were thanked for all their hard work at the third annual volunteer achievement awards on Wednesday 8 June.

The event honours long-standing volunteers and also recognises the contribution of relative newcomers who have gone the extra mile. The evening also acted as a thank-you party and was held at Saxon Hall, Aviation Way, Southend.

Awards were given out by hospital chairman Alan Tobias and chief executive Sue Hardy. 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.

Sue Hardy, chief executive, said: "Southend Hospital has over 450 volunteers who all provide dedication and support to the hospital, helping patients, visitors and staff alike. It's always a privilege to meet them around the hospital and to see so many of them at the awards ceremony."

Volunteer Achievement Award Winners

Lifetime Achievement Award, the late Joyce Long MBE(presented by Alan to Joyce's daughter, Angela Alden)

Awarded posthumously to champion fundraiser Joyce Long, who sadly died in December.Over the years, Joyce raised £1.5 million virtually single-handedly for Southend Hospital.

She's perhaps most famous for her 'pop-up' shops that raked in the cash for a whole list of hospital appeals, including the leukaemia unit appeal, bosom pals appeal, keyhole cancer

appeal and many more. Over the years she helped buy Southend's first eye laser machine, a CT scanner and MRI scanner and bought many pieces of much-needed equipment for individual wards and departments.

In memory of Joyce's incredible legacy, we are naming our best fundraiser award in her name. This accolade will be known as theJoyce Long Fundraising Achievement Award.

Roger Bassett, 74, Thorpe Bay, The Joyce Long Fundraising Achievement Award 2016

Roger is described by his nominee, fundraising manager Kayley Fletcher, as approachable but authoritative, kind, calmly spoken, reassuring and very efficient.

He is chairman of CADGERS, the urological cancer support group, they have always been massive supporters of Southend Hospital, and most recently the group donated £7,372 to purchase a new treatment couch for our new Brachytherapy Suite. Roger is also as a volunteer at the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre, a centre which he played a part in creating.

Sandra Lowe, 66, Westcliff, volunteer, old main entrance information desk volunteer - Best Newcomer Award

Although she has been in post less than a year, Sandra has already become part of the team. She is witty, able to read people and her knowledge of the hospital, which has come in part through her own health battles - she is four years clear from throat cancer - is excellent.

She goes out of her way to put patients and visitors at ease when they arrive, is very funny, full of banter, and always cheerful. She is an asset to the hospital.

Marilyn Glass, 65, Shoebury, Feeding Buddy - 'Happy to Help' Award

Marilyn has been a feeding buddy for five years and during that time has always gone the extra mile. She is an excellent teacher, and has trained up dozens of new recruits. Her warm and nurturing nature make her the ideal person to show nervous newcomer the ropes.

Anthony Burton, 79, Westcliff, Unsung Hero Award 

Tony is a very conscientious and valuable driver to our renal dialysis patients. When the renal unit has a need for a driver at short notice he is always obliging, going out of his way to ensure the patient is accommodated. Tony also regularly assists with the driver rotas, essential to the smooth running of the renal dialysis unit.

Bob Smith, 78, Leigh, and John Rodgers, 79, Southend, gardeners, Chairman's Award

This is a joint award for two men who prove that age is no barrier to keeping active and doing great stuff. They are often found out and about at the front of the hospital, digging, weeding and planting the beds at the Cardigan Wing end of the hospital.

Bob has been a volunteer for seven years, and the pair struck up an instant friendship when John joined as a gardener five years ago; they are now a dynamic duo.

Dementia Befriender Group Award

Trophy presented to Millie Bealing, representing the team

Being a dementia befriender is one of the toughest volunteer placements in the hospital. You might spend one hour with one patient one week; you might go to the ward the next week to find most patients asleep or no-one wanting to talk.

Long-term volunteers, who act as 'mentors' to new recruits, all have a professional health or social care background. The trust is fortunate enough to have several new starters who have a sound knowledge of this debilitating condition from their previous roles or life experience. 

It's an exciting time to be a dementia befriender. The launch of the new dementia appeal to equip out two day rooms for dementia patients means we will need even more in order to assist staff with a series of activities to keep these patients engaged and comfortable. 

Long service awards

This group of volunteers perform a vital role. They are often the patient's first experience of our hospital, whether it is driving the patient to their appointment, or giving them directions when they get here, important at what can be an anxious time.

Clive Seldon, 76, Shoebury, voluntary Carecars driver

Clive joined the hospital's voluntary driving scheme, Carecars in 2005. Over the years he has driven thousands of patients to their hospital outpatient appointments and picked them up again. He is known for his quiet charm and discretion.

Ronnie Emery, 71, Thundersley, fundraising and charity shop volunteer

Ronnie's background in running a clothes shop for ten years - children's shop Clobber in Leigh - provided invaluable when the fundraising department started its first charity shop in 2012. She transferred to the Leigh shop two years ago, where she helps out every Monday. She is popular, energetic and enthusiastic.

Gina Stenhouse, 79, Shoebury, breast unit volunteer

Gina joined the tower block information desk in 2001 After four years she then volunteered at the blood clinic at Thorpedene clinic in Thorpe Bay, before joining the women's clinic in 2008, where staff describe her as 'an asset to the team.'

Angela Mason, Leigh, chemotherapy unit volunteer

The grandmother-of-three has been a volunteer for 14 years, first as a clerical volunteer on Blenheim ward and since 2008 in the chemotherapy unit, where she prepares files for clinic, files notes and runs errands.

Barry Nichols, 73, Westcliff, radiotherapy/rehab area volunteer

Barry can be found in the radiotherapy department every Tuesday, where he directs patients and helps staff with admin tasks. Victoria Lee, a radiotherapy department manager, said: "Barry has been a helpful and reliable fixture in the department."

Barbara Tuff, 78, Shoebury, volunteer, eye unit

The grandmother-of-four became a volunteer at the eye unit 15 years ago, and still volunteers two to three times a week. "She is dedicated, very good at what she does and is very likeable," says SBWO volunteer manager Karen Carter-Blake.

Sheila Ditton, 81, Thorpe Bay, blood clinic volunteer, Thorpedene Clinic, Thorpe Bay(unable to attend)

Sheila has been at the hospital's Thorpedene clinic in Thorpe Bay for the past 13 years. She greets patients, checks them in and answers any non-clinical queries. She has almost 30 years of volunteer experience under her belt, as a WRVS volunteer and then at a mother-and-baby clinic.

Teresa Gabbitas, urology outpatients volunteer(unable to attend)

Known throughout the urology department as Resa, this former nurse has been using her previous experience to great effect since becoming a volunteer in 2005. She wanted to be placed somewhere busy - and she has never looked back.

Pam Law, 78, Southend, urology outpatient volunteer(unable to attend)

Pam has been a strong supporter of the hospital for the past 18 years, joining WRVS before becoming a volunteer on Castle Point ward, assisting the ward clerk. Six years later she moved to urology outpatients, where this popular member of the team has been ever since.

To find out more about becoming a volunteer please contact Jane O'Connell, voluntary services manager, on 01702 435555 ext 6135 or email volunteers@southend.nhs.uk