Celebrating our volunteers – Newcastle Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

This week we’re celebrating our ‘unsung heroes’ – our fantastic volunteers who dedicate their time to support Newcastle Hospitals.

People like the lovely Pat Dodds who has devoted over 40 years to the Freeman Hospital and is one of our longest serving volunteers. Pat’s roles have been numerous – from starting in the chemists to providing flower arrangements, chatting with patients on the wards, working in ENT and main outpatients and, more recently, providing support to the chaplaincy team.

As a surprise for her 90th birthday last week and to thank Pat for everything she’s done over the years, the outpatients team bought her some gifts, flowers and a cake – plus a tiara and a 90th birthday sash which she proudly wore in the hospital.

“I started volunteering when I was working at Bowey’s the Builders, who built part of the Freeman,” said Pat

“One of the Director’s secretaries was a volunteer and said why don’t you come along and help and I’ve been here ever since. I love volunteering – I feel like I’m doing something good and helping people – it really is the most rewarding job I’ve had. I look at the hospital and all the people in it as my home from home and have every intention to be volunteering when I’m 100!”

If you are interested in finding out more about the Volunteer Service and how volunteers can add value to your service, either come along to one of the following events, visit Volunteer webpage or speak to Alison Haigh, Volunteer Services Manager on ext 23307.

  • Monday 6th June – NCCC, Freeman Hospital
  • Wednesday 7th June – Outside Medicinema, RVI
Executive Chief Nurse Maurya Cushlow and Pat celebrating her 90th Birthday

Executive Chief Nurse Maurya Cushlow had the opportunity to meet Pat as we marked her 90th birthday, she said: “Volunteers play a huge role in society across many sectors, providing an invaluable service to our communities and our NHS. I have been privileged over many years to see, first hand, their impact – whether that’s supporting patients and staff in our emergency department, providing directions to people, making sure staff can stock up at one of their shops through a busy working day or keeping patients entertained through hospital radio.

“Last week was a particular privilege for me as I got to spend some time with Pat, who was celebrating her 90th birthday. Pat’s been a volunteer with us for over 43 years and her energy and enthusiasm was inspiring. Her desire to provide a service and ‘help out’ is to be admired and her role within our team is hugely valued by all who know her. We are indebted to Pat and to the hundreds like her in the trust – not to mention the thousands nationally – who give their time selflessly for others. It’s only right we acknowledge and thank them all for the work they do.”

National volunteers Week runs from 1 to 7 June.

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