Student wins award as role of volunteers at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds is celebrated

Hospital volunteer long service awards
Hospital volunteer long service awards

A young student volunteer at West Suffolk Hospital has told how she feels ‘incredibly honoured’ after she was presented with an award this week.

Hannah Sainsbury, 18 from Bury St Edmunds, was presented with the Dr Damian Kershaw award on Wednesday at an event held to celebrate the contribution of volunteers at the hospital.

Hospital volunteer long service awards Helen Legg, Rebecca McCullagh, Hannah Sainsbury, Rebecca Houghton, Tamsyn Hunt

Hospital volunteer long service awards Helen Legg, Rebecca McCullagh, Hannah Sainsbury, Rebecca Houghton, Tamsyn Hunt

It total they have given a record 36,750 hours of their spare time over the past year.

Hannah who has just finished at County Upper School has been volunteering for just over a year and hopes to become a doctor.

“I feel incredibly honoured,” said Hannah. “It is very rewarding. I really enjoy working at the hospital,” she said.

“It is lovely and some of the patients have said that I have a lovely bedside manner.”

West Suffolk Hospital volunteers awarded for their service

West Suffolk Hospital volunteers awarded for their service

She said her duties include making beds, taking meals out, and talking to patients,

She is now waiting to see if she has got the grades to get into medical school.

The award she was given is named after a doctor who started as a volunteer at the hospital before a promising medical career was cut short when he died 12-years-ago aged 28 from a heart attack caused by undetected high cholestrol.

Dr Kershaw’s mother Jackie, presented the award to Hannah alongside Angela Pearce on behalf of the Friends of the Hospital.

“It is wonderful to have this award to keep his spirit alive.

“He was so enthusiastic, dedicated and lived to do medicine.

“These youngsters are a wonderul example to their peers.”

It was the 10th year of the Dr Damian Kershaw award, which for the first time also saw student volunteers who have completed at least six months service, presented with badges for the first time.

Those badges were given to Rebecca Houghton, Rebecca McCullagh, Helen Legg, and Tamsyn Hunt.

Wednesday’s celebrations at the Moreton Hall Community Centre also saw 36 volunteers presented with long service medals, having cloecked up more than 350 years between them.

Grant Greetham received the award for the longest service of any of the volunteers having clocked up 35 years.

He is chairman of the Friends of the Hospital group and a leading member of RWSfm the community radio station.

Linda Murrell, voluntary services manager at the hospital saidL: “I think it is important that the work of the volunteers is recognised.

“We have had a record amount of volunteer hours over the past year and this is a wonderful opportunity for us to say thank you for that.”