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Hospital award for aspiring doctor volunteer Josh




A teenager was awarded a special accolade for the volunteering time and dedication he gave to a Bury St Edmunds hospital while working towards four A-levels.

Josh Watkins, who lives in Lawshall, received the Dr Damian Kershaw award after volunteering for the West Suffolk Hospital’s six-month volunteer programme.

Josh’s achievements were celebrated at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust’s (WSFT) annual thank you event earlier this month.

Josh Watkins with his certificate with Jackie Kershaw, left, and Angela Pearce, right, who sponsored the awards
Josh Watkins with his certificate with Jackie Kershaw, left, and Angela Pearce, right, who sponsored the awards

Josh, 18, gave two hours a week of his time to the hospital each Tuesday alongside studying for A-levels in biology, chemistry, physics and maths at King Edward VI Schoolin Bury St Edmunds – he is hoping to go to medical school to study to become a doctor at the University of Southampton

While volunteering for the hospital he helped out nursing staff and interacted with patients to help ease pressures.

Josh said: “When I opened the letter I couldn’t believe it. I spent an awful lot of time working on my A-levels that was the most important thing.”

Josh, who volunteered for a total of 50 hours, added: “Everything I set out to achieve by doing volunteering I managed to achieve. When that six months finished, I found it extremely useful in writing my personal statement. I used a lot of anecdotes from ward F5.”

F5, the ward on which Josh volunteered, is a surgical ward within the hospital.

The certificate Josh received stated he had been given the awardfor his enthusiasm, commitment and being reliable.

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

Sponsored by the Friends of West Suffolk Hospital charity and Dr Kershaw’s mother, Jackie, the award celebrates the achievements of a young person who has shown outstanding commitment to the trust while on their placement.

Jackie, who was on the award 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.”



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