Dr. Damian Kershaw Award Presented as Volunteers Thanked
1 June 2009
Dedicated volunteers who have together clocked up 415 years serving hospital patients, visitors and staff at West Suffolk Hospital are to be thanked for their efforts at a special awards ceremony.
The hospital's Voluntary Services department will hold a ceremony on Wednesday 3 June to thank all their volunteers for the hours they spend helping at the hospital, whether it's by holding patient's hands during eye surgery or entertaining them over the radio airwaves.
In addition to 42 long service awards, the Dr Damian Kershaw award will also be presented at the ceremony. This special award recognises young volunteers heading for a healthcare career and is named after Dr Kershaw, who volunteered at the hospital in the late 1980s and went on to have a successful career but sadly died suddenly aged 28.
It will be presented by Dr Kershaw's mother Jackie to Andrew Scales, 23, in recognition of his work on the Rainbow Ward over the past two years.
Mrs Kershaw said: "This is the 6th year of the Dr Damian Kershaw Award. Choosing a winner on this occasion was almost impossible because of the extremely high standard of the four candidates we interviewed.
"Each one was so enthusiastic, full of life, hugely interesting and, above all, very committed to volunteering. Picking just one for the award lost me much sleep!
"These young people are a great credit to their peers and all deserve to succeed in their aim to become doctors."
During the ceremony, a variety of long service awards will also be handed out. These include 22 five year awards, seven for ten years' service, nine for 15 years, two for 20 years and one for 25 years' service as a volunteer.
In addition, Lynda Seldis, who has worked as a Red Cross therapeutic care volunteer at the hospital for the past 35 years, will be given an award in recognition of her dedication.
Mrs Seldis first worked at the old hospital site before West Suffolk moved to Hardwick Lane in 1974. She provides hand, neck, shoulder and back massages, along with a nail care service, to help patients to relax.
Mrs Seldis began volunteering after having her second child, and fitted her work at the hospital around a full time job. The only break she has had during the last 35 years came when she had her third child.
"Some of the patients I work with have had a stressful time with illness, so it is nice to be able to help them relax and feel more human," said Mrs Seldis, who will retire in the summer.
“The patients seem to enjoy the therapeutic treatments which I give, and that's what has made me carry on for so many years. It's nice to feel like you’re making a difference to people at what is usually a very difficult time for them.
"I would encourage anyone who is interested in helping out to step forward and find out more about the huge variety of volunteering opportunities which are available at the hospital. Not only does it benefit the patients, but it also benefits the volunteers as well. The Voluntary Services team are also incredibly supportive and offer all the help and advice you need."
Geraldine Debenham, voluntary services manager at the hospital, said: "These awards provide us with the perfect opportunity to recognise the hugely valuable contribution our volunteers make to everyone at the hospital.
"The years they have dedicated to helping others are a testament to just how rewarding and varied volunteering can be, and we greatly appreciate their efforts.
"There are a wide variety of opportunities available at the hospital for anyone interested in helping out, and I'd encourage anyone who wants to know more to get in touch."
Volunteering opportunities at the hospital are many and varied and include helping directly with patients or a bit more behind the scenes.
Anyone interested in finding out more should telephone 01284 713206.