Thanks to Ann for years of work to provide key supplies for hospital patients – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Over the years, the 85-year-old from Stakeford has donated more than 5,500 of the packs, mainly for Wansbeck, in Ashington, but some have also gone to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington.

Recently, Ann made her final donation after taking the decision to call it a day, partly due to ill health, and she has been thanked for her fantastic efforts which have made a difference to thousands of patients.

Brenda Longstaff, the head of Northumbria Healthcare’s Bright charity, who oversees the volunteers team, said: “I would like to pass on my sincere gratitude to Ann for all she has done over the years.

“She has made a significant contribution to patient experience in our hospitals and it is incredible that she donated such a huge number of packs, including continuing to do so all throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns.”

The packs contain key toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and shaving equipment for patients who have been admitted to hospital at short notice and perhaps don’t have any relatives to help out.

Ann first made up packs with her local WI group, but decided to carry on solo, inspired by her own personal experience.

“My whole family has had cancer, including me,” she said. “I lost my husband to pancreatic cancer in 1987 and both my daughters had breast cancer in 2013, so this is my way of saying thanks for the care we received.

“Many people must have had one of my packs and I have had people in church come up to me and say that they had one of the bags, which always made me happy.

“I have really enjoyed doing it, but I decided that it was the right time to stop.”

Ann also thanked those organisations and groups that had supported her by donating toiletries for her packs over the years: Stakeford Methodist Church, Guidepost and Sheepwash WI, Rotary Club Wansbeck, Procter & Gamble, Freemasons Northumberland, Tesco Kingston Park Community Champion and Bright Northumbria.

Northumbria Healthcare has hundreds of volunteers carrying out a range of important roles across its hospitals as part of its Northumbria Volunteer Service (NVS).

Roles carried out include assisting patients at mealtimes and facilitating ward activities, acting as befrienders, the meet and greet service and working in the NVS shops. Profits from the shops go into the Bright charity, which funds those things that the NHS does not.

A recent survey revealed the physical, emotional and social benefits experienced by those who volunteer with the trust.

If you are interested in volunteering with Northumbria Healthcare, contact the volunteer team on 0191 203 1511 or email

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