Volunteers' news

Long standing volunteers celebrated for their contribution at special award ceremony

Long Service awards volunteers 2024

Long standing volunteers from across all UHDB sites who have dedicated their time to helping patients, visitors and colleagues have been honoured at a special ceremony.

The volunteers, whose individual service spans from five years to an incredible 50 years of service were thanked for their efforts and awarded certificates and pin badges to commemorate their time at the Trust, in a special ceremony at Royal Derby Hospital.

It is the first-time volunteers across sites have attended a joint award ceremony, with volunteers from the Trust joining the Friends of the Baby Unit and volunteers from the League of Friends to celebrate the amazing contribution of all volunteers at the organisation.

Among the guests was Christine Fielding, who started volunteering for the Friends of Royal Derby with her husband 40 years ago. The couple, who both had full time jobs had moved to Derbyshire and wanted to give something to the community while meeting new people.

Christine said there has been a lot of change since she started volunteering four decades ago and she would urge anyone considering volunteering to give it a try.

Christine said: "My husband and I moved to Derbyshire in 1981, both working and we decided that we'd like to do some volunteering. The hospital needed volunteers for their shop, which back then was situated outside the hospital on an island by the A38. Eventually, we had a shop inside the hospital and then we had a bigger shop and were able to offer food, making sandwiches and cake for the staff and patients."

When Christine's husband passed away and she later retired, she decided to continue volunteering and was there for the opening of the new hospital, as it is today, where she 'caught a glimpse' of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Christine said: "It was lovely and one of the many rewards I have had while volunteering here. So much has grown and changed but I have enjoyed working for the hospital and on the odd occasion where I've been a patient I have always found the care to be excellent.

"The staff have always been very appreciative and the people you meet are lovely. The other volunteers are like family.  I am very pleased that we have young people coming in now and I would encourage anyone to give it a try - there's lots of opportunities in different areas and it can make such a difference.

"Volunteering has been an amazing thing to do and I will continue for as long as I can."

Another volunteer who was awarded for his outstanding contribution to volunteering was student volunteer Jason Ledford, who started volunteering to 'give something back' to the NHS after he was cared for following diagnosis of a brain tumour in 2019.

Jason said working with patients and learning from staff has been rewarding and given him more confidence to pursue a career in healthcare.

Jason said: "After spending a lot of time as a patient on a head trauma ward I knew I wanted to give something back to the NHS and help others that are going through a similar experience."

Jason has applied to Derby University and hopes to pursue a career in Neurology. He said his volunteering so far has allowed him to be exposed to the industry, learn more about working in the hospital and feel like he has made a difference.

Jason said: "I currently do one day a week volunteering and I shadow staff and support with some tasks like taking observations. I am trying to learn as much as I can and I hope that I will get the opportunity to study at university and come back here to work.

"All the staff are very caring and motivational and want to teach you so you can be a part of their team in the future. I have seen how important everyone is to help make the hospital and the wards function.

"Being a part of the patient journey has been really rewarding and I would strongly recommend volunteering to others."

Volunteer Sam Ellicott also received an award for reaching an astonishing milestone of 50 years of volunteering for Tamworth league of friends. Sam was unable to be at the ceremony due to illness but will receive his award on a later date.

Andrew Selby, Director of Estates and Facilities Management, congratulated the volunteers and thanked them for their vital service, saying that the Trust would not be able to operate without the support of volunteers and their dedication to helping others.

Andrew said: "The organisation is incredibly proud of the volunteers here who make such a difference to those who come through our hospitals.

"You have an impact on every part of the hospital and I know from talking to patients and colleagues how valued and respected you are.

"Without the hours and weeks and the commitment you put into the Trust we would not be able to run our hospital as we do so thank you so much to all of our volunteers, who are the real heroes of UHDB."

Our volunteers are an invaluable part of the Trust and offer support by welcoming and guiding patients as they arrive at our hospitals, offering a listening ear for patients and visitors or an extra pair of hands to help support our busy staff. 

Anyone aged 16 and over, in good health and with time to spare can volunteer at our hospitals.

 You can find out more about volunteering and how to get involved here >

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