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Dedication and generosity praised at NHS trust

Volunteers at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust have been praised at a special thank you event.

Around 45 volunteers received long-service awards from chief executive Stephen Dunn after clocking up 415 years of service between them.

Christine Hinchley, from Bury St Edmunds, was thanked at the annual event for giving an incredible 30 years of service to the hospital as a volunteer in the Friends shop.

Volunteers with CEO Stephen Dunn
Volunteers with CEO Stephen Dunn

Joshua Watkins, from Lawshall, who has been volunteering on the trust’s six-month student programme, received the Dr Damian Kershaw award.

The award was founded in memory of a former trust volunteer, Dr Kershaw, who went on to have a successful career in medicine, but died aged 28.

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

It celebrates the achievements of a young person who has shown outstanding commitment to the trust whilst on their placement.

Jackie, who was on the awards panel, said: “I have been judging this award for 16 years now, and as ever, the task of choosing a winner was difficult. Joshua stood out because his determination to work in medicine, however challenging, is courageous. I wish every success to him for his studies at university, and to all the trust’s student volunteers – they are the future of the NHS.”

Volunteers at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds and the Newmarket Community Hospital support many areas of the trust, including serving customers in the Friends charity shop, supporting patients with wheelchairs, gardening, supporting the chaplaincy, and being end-of-life ward companions.

Dr Dunn said: “Our volunteers are the icing on the cake at our hospital, and truly make such a difference to improve the experience of our patients and staff.”

Ian McKee, WSFT voluntary services manager with Christine Hinchley.
Ian McKee, WSFT voluntary services manager with Christine Hinchley.

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