Almost 130 volunteers from Epsom and St Helier hospitals gathered at Epsom Downs Racecourse for a special event held in recognition of the valuable contribution they make to patients, visitors and staff.

Although the sky may have been a little overcast, the mood was anything but as volunteers from across the hospitals came together to enjoy an afternoon of tea, cake and music. Local MPs The Rt Hon Chris Grayling (Epsom and Ewell), Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) and Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam), were on-hand to honour the volunteers alongside the trust’s Chief Executive, Daniel Elkeles, and Chairman, Laurence Newman.

Chief Executive Daniel said: “We are very fortunate to receive a huge amount of support from our volunteers, over 500 of whom give their time to provide a range of services and offer additional help to our patients and visitors.

“Each week our volunteers give an average of 1,700 hours to our hospitals, which adds up to an astonishing 88,400 hours per year! But the contribution they make cannot be measured in time alone – the value of what they bring to our hospitals is in the difference they make to our patients, visitors and staff. It is fair to say that the volunteers and charities that support our hospitals are an integral part of our success, and we are truly grateful for everything that they do.”

The occasion was particularly special for 15 volunteers who were celebrated for reaching a long service landmark of 15, 25 or 40years, totalling more than 290 years of service between them! Awards for 15 years’ service were presented to:

chris-fowle-and-ian-daggett-15-years-service•    Shirley Attrell of The Royal Voluntary Service
•    Nancy Richmond, Helen Russell-Brain and Audrey Willson of the Macmillan Butterfly Centre
•    Ian Daggett and Christopher Fowle of Epsom Radio (pictured)
•    Kevin Horkan and Paul Caffrey of Radio St Helier
•    Christina Ward of the Chaplaincy Department at St Helier
•    Pat Smith of the League of Friends for St Helier Hospital.

Awards for 25 years’ service were presented to:
•    Dimps Bexley, Val Brundle and Mick Brundle of the League of Friends for St Helier Hospital
•    David Woodley, in memory of his mother Eve Woodley who sadly passed away earlier this year. Eve had been a volunteer with the League of Friends for St Helier Hospital.

rosemary-brakell-40-years-serviceThe award for a remarkable 40 years’ service was presented to 80-year old Rosemary Brakell of The Friends of Epsom Hospital. (pictured)

On presenting the long service awards, Daniel said: “It was an absolute pleasure to honour our volunteers, particularly those who have reached long service milestones and shown such outstanding commitment to our hospitals. Thank you to my colleagues, as well as Chris, Tom and Paul, for being part of this very special occasion. But, most of all, thank you to our dedicated team of volunteers – you are amazing!””

Nobody went home empty handed, as members of the trust executive team handed out a box of chocolates to everyone in attendance, as well thanking them personally for their time and commitment. Director of Communications and board-level lead for volunteering and fundraising, Tim Hamilton, said: “Although we are sure to say ‘thank you’ at every opportunity, the tea party is our chance to recognise our volunteers – and the work they do – on a grander scale. It was wonderful to see so many people at the tea party, and to celebrate such a remarkable group of people.”

For more information about charities that support the trust and to get involved in volunteering, please visit www.epsom-sthelier.nhs.uk/get-involved.

Police have released an image of part of a gold chain or bracelet with a rope pattern which was found on a man who was arrested in Croydon by Sutton police officers on Thursday, 8 September on suspicion of handling stolen goods.

The item of jewellery is broken suggesting that it may have been snatched from a victim. If this item of jewellery belongs to you, please contact Sutton Crime Squad on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.