Kidney unit volunteers honoured

Volunteer helpers at Cromer hospital's kidney dialysis unit have been rewarded for their efforts.

A team of people give up their time to help half a day a week - doing everything from manning the tea trolley and chatting to patients, to helping make beds if the nurses are busy.

Four of them - Sally Hodges, Sylvia Mickleburgh, Trish Stockley, and Sue Woods - collected a joint silver prize in the volunteer of the year section at the annual awards run by the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. And there was a posthumous award for colleague Judith Hipsey who died last September.

Sister Angie Webster who runs the ward with Sister Janet Dickenson said the volunteers were a big help at the unit, which deals with 40 patients making three times a week trips from Monday to Saturday.

'They do the tea trolley, make beds if we are busy, and have more time to spend chatting to the patients while we get on with other work,' she explained.

They also helped with fund-raising which enabled patients - who found it difficult to get away on holiday - to go on short breaks between dialysis sessions, as well as theatre trips including the Thursford Christmas show.

Volunteers were people who were 'retired, active and who feel they have something to give.'

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The unit, which will relocate to the former Barclay ward in the new years as part of the Cromer hospital redevelopment, was lucky to have the volunteers and was always looking to recruit more. The volunteers husbands, such as John Hodges and Bob Woods, also lent a hand.

Hospital trust chairman David Prior said: 'It's such a pleasure to be able to recognise those employees who patients and colleagues feel have gone above and beyond the call of duty. It is also important to recognise those who dedicate their working lives to our hospitals. The response to the awards was overwhelming with over 650 entries many of them from patients with heart-warming stories to tell.'

Anyone interested in joining the volunteers should contact the Cromer unit on 01603 646155 or the volunteers office on 01603 286286 extension 2060.