Thoroughly good volunteer innings for John who ‘retires’ at 91
23 April 2019
Southend Hospital volunteer John Thorogood has retired after 30 years of service – at the grand old age of 91.
Staff across three departments turned up for an afternoon tea to
say farewell to a much-loved colleague, described by one as 'the
most wonderful gentleman'.
The former Westcliff High School for Boys teacher started his
second career when computers were in their infancy. He began
volunteering in the hospital's medical records department in May
1989, at a time where labels for folders containing patient notes
were written out by hand.
From there he transferred to Castle Point Ward, following the
team as the ward became first Kitty Hubbard and then Stambridge
Ward. His role was to run errands and records across the
He would unfailingly arrive by bus from his Leigh home three
mornings a week, until his failing eyesight meant the role became
John said: "Volunteering has given me a lot, a sense of purpose,
and I have enjoyed every minute."
Paying tribute, Stambridge ward manager Julie Londesborough, who
has known and worked with John for more than 20 years, said: "John
is a lovely, lovely man and we can't thank him enough for all he
has done for us."
Staff from medical records, clinical coding, and Stambridge ward
clubbed together to present John and his wife Karin with theatre
vouchers. Tessa Breakwell, a domestic who has known John 25 years,
and is pictured with her hands on John's shoulders, said: "Although
he can't see very well, he always knows exactly who you are by your
voice. He is the most wonderful man."
Volunteering was of course not John's only interest. He and
Karin, his wife of 63 years, set up and ran the popular Salvation
Army charity shop off Broadway West for more than 33 years. And as
well as having three children of their own, they also fostered two
children, one of whom, Eileen Coley, works at the hospital as a
John and Karin will not be strangers to the hospital, however. A
couple of members of staff are planning to meet up with the couple
for lunch, and he has an open invitation to pop in for a chat if he