Closer Look: Volunteer
07 June 2018
Each month we interview a different member of staff or volunteer at Southend University Hospital and gain a closer look at how they help deliver patient care at the Trust.
This month we meet Volunteer, Pearl Naylor, aged 93 from Thorpe Bay, as part of Volunteers Week (1 – 7 June).
Tell us about yourself?
I started volunteering in 1973 when an appeal was made seeking
help with the 'geriatrics' at the former Rochford Hospital. The
ambulance service also needed drivers to assist with transporting
patients to and from their clinics.
I used to work with stroke patients, bathing and washing them,
getting lunch and entertaining them in the afternoons with the help
of the occupational therapists and physios. Fortunately my husband
and I had our own business so I was able to take time off to do
this. Now aged 93, I am still here and loving every minute of
What does your job involve?
At present, I help to man the enquiries desk in the Prittlewell
Building by the old main entrance. It is so rewarding to help,
advise and chat with visitors and patients who may be agitated,
frightened, apprehensive and sometimes tearful.
We are the first people that people see when they come in and
because many are keyed up or late for an appointment, we can calm
them down and chat to them. So there is someone with a smile on
their face to greet them. It was far more hands on when I first
started on the nursing side. Now it's more helping people
What are the best bits about your job?
There have been incidences where people have collapsed and I've
rushed to help them. One young woman had visited the Chapel of Rest
and went into a 'hypo' and I helped her recover which I am
very proud of.
I have worked for the NHS for 45 years and I love my job and am
so pleased that I am still here as the NHS celebrates its
70th anniversary. The NHS delivers a wonderful service
and I think it's fantastic. I continue to work here because I
love helping people, it keeps me going.
What work achievements are you most proud
I was awarded an MBE in 2012 for all the voluntary work I had
done between Southend Hospital, Fairhavens Hospice and a stroke
club where I also worked. I met Prince Charles and it was a
fantastic occasion. I took my daughter and one of my grandsons.
Prince Charles said to me 'You've won this medal for the
voluntary work you do, you're doing a great job'.