West Suffolk NHS volunteers to be thanked for 41,000 hours of support tomorrow

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Volunteers who have dedicated a record-breaking 41,000 hours to supporting patients, visitors and staff at West Suffolk Hospital over the past year will be thanked for their generosity during a special tea party.

The annual celebration takes place tomorrow, Wednesday June 10, at Moreton Hall Community Centre, Bury St Edmunds, and will see some of the hospital’s executive team serve tea and cakes to the volunteers to celebrate their contribution during the year.

During the afternoon, 31 volunteers will be presented with long service awards after together clocking up 275 years of service. Young people who are planning a career in healthcare have taken part in the trust’s student volunteer programme for six months will also receive a student volunteer service badge.

Finally, Kelly Davis, from Bury St Edmunds, who has volunteered at the hospital since November, will be presented with the Dr Damian Kewshaw award in recognition of her enthusiasm and commitment. The award is named after a former volunteer who went onto a successful career in medicine but sadly died aged 28.

The award is jointly sponsored by Dr Kershaw’s mother Jackie and the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital.

Mrs Kershaw said: “Choosing the winner for this year’s award was extremely difficult as the candidates were, as usual, very inspiring. Kelly, together with the other applicants, recognises what a two-way process volunteering is. In exchange for her time and caring, she said she learned much and gained maturity from the challenges presented to her, which is excellent training for a career in medicine.”

The hospital currently has around 370 volunteers on its books, who fulfil a variety of roles, including helping on the wards at mealtimes, spending time with patients who have dementia and welcoming patients and visitors at clinics and receptions. They help in departments across the hospital, support the chaplaincy team and also raise funds through the Friends’ shop and stalls.

Linda Murrell, voluntary services manager, said: “We are looking forward to celebrating and thanking all our volunteers for the time and support they give our hospital.

“I am so proud to head this team of wonderful people who play a key role in enhancing the experience our patients have when using West Suffolk Hospital while also giving a helping hand to our staff.

“We would be delighted to hear from anyone who is inspired by our volunteers’ dedication and commitment and would like to join our fantastic team.”

For more information about volunteering opportunities at the hospital, contact the voluntary services team on 01284 713169 or visit www.wsh.nhs.uk.