Long-serving Newark volunteers recognised as NHS celebrates 75 years

Posted Tuesday, July 4, 2023 12:10 PM

Long-serving Newark volunteers recognised as NHS celebrates 75 years

As the NHS marks 75 years of service, two of the longest-serving Newark Hospital volunteers have been recognised for their outstanding contributions.

Sheila Clutterbuck, who is from Newark, was presented with her 45-year long service badge and certificate last week (29 June).

Sheila first began volunteering at the old Newark General Hospital in 1978 as a flower volunteer. She had a love of flower arranging and wanted to enhance the hospital environment by creating displays for public areas, as well as arranging flowers that had been delivered for patients. Sheila continued to volunteer at the new hospital site and tended to the flowers on the wards until 2017. Since then, she has volunteered on the fundraising gift stall and now has a regular shift on reception in the Podiatry department.

Sheila said: “It’s great being a volunteer. The patients certainly get a lot out of it - it puts people at ease having someone to talk to. I enjoy meeting the public and showing a smiley face. If it helps the hospital and they need it, I am quite happy to give my time.

“We are so lucky to have Newark Hospital. It’s a fabulous hospital and I have recommended it many times to my friends and family. I would always recommend volunteering here too. It’s a lovely thing to do and it’s good to give back. They are a lovely bunch of people here, especially the people that look after us.”

Another long-serving volunteer is Jane Combes, 70, from Balderton, who has been a volunteer for almost 45 yearsShe wanted to give something back after visiting a relative who was a patient at the old London Road site. Jane has volunteered in many areas within the hospital including coffee shops, main reception, fundraising and clinic support.

During this time, Jane was bringing up her family as well as running a successful catering business with her sister, which they ran for over 20 years. Since retiring nine years ago, Jane continues to keep very busy. She is a trustee of the Friends of Newark Hospital and is on the committee for a local housing association.

Jane said: “It’s lovely being a volunteer. It gives you a lot of satisfaction knowing you’re helping people and helping the hospital. I love all of it. I work in all different departments - I just go wherever they want me. It’s a great hospital and we need people to use it more. I’ve been here a long time and there have been a lot of improvements. I’d encourage anyone to be a volunteer. You might give a lot, but you get a lot back.”

Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which manages Newark Hospital along with King’s Mill and Mansfield Community Hospital, also recognises the contribution made by Bridget Cobb who volunteers for a partner charity that fundraises solely for Newark Hospital.

Bridget, 66, of Newark, has been the Treasurer of the Friends of Newark Hospital for 47 years. The Friends raise funds to support Newark hospital by any means and also run the coffee shops on site. The funds contribute to a range of resources - often things that aren’t always available on the NHS. This can include Christmas gifts for patients, specialist medical equipment and most recently Coronation gifts for patients during the King’s Coronation.

Bridget said: “Volunteering is something I enjoy doing. I like to help people and it gives me something to do and gets me out and about. Newark Hospital is brilliant - there are lovely staff here and I’ve made great friends.

“The range of services offered at Newark Hospital and what they do here is amazing. I’ve seen a lot of changes over the time and that change has been for the better. The hospital is always improving, and the staff here are always going out of their way to try and improve the hospital.”

As part of her role Bridget is often involved in the many improvements that are made to the hospital. A key donation was £1million from the Doughty Foundation which was used to extend the endoscopy suite named in honour of Mercia Doughty, a nurse who worked at the hospital.

Bridget said: “We have been left large amounts before, but this one was particularly wonderful and was a big highlight for me.”

Jo Thornley, Community Involvement Manager at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “Dedicating over 45 years to supporting patients, visitors and colleagues at Newark Hospital is remarkable. We are incredibly grateful to Sheila, Jane and Bridget, as well as all our other volunteers who bring a wide range of skills and life experience to the Trust – thank you for all that you do.”

For more information about volunteering, visit Sherwood Forest Hospitals (sfh-tr.nhs.uk).

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