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Volunteer Stories

Some of our volunteers wanted to share their experiences from working within Portsmouth Hospital Trust. Please take a moment to read through their sections on this page.


 

Marjorie

Meet Marjorie

Volunteer Marjorie Haywood Smith will be 83 in October and it is not an exaggeration to say not only does she look half her age, her energy levels are those of a woman half her age as well. Marj—as she is known—has volunteered at QA Hospital for 17 years and is beloved by staff and patients alike. She started in the rheumatology department, but has spent the last 15 years in the A& E Department. “I love volunteering there,” she says. “The staff are amazing. They are like a family and they work so hard.” Marj comes in three days a week at the crack of dawn and often works eight hour shifts, although she has been known to work overtime and has even volunteered on Christmas Day.

Most shifts Marj takes a food trolley filled with coffees, teas and biscuits around to patients and families in the waiting area. She is renowned for saying just the right thing to soothe the very worried and the very stressed. And her hugs are legendary.

Marj is a great grandmother and mum of four and when she is not volunteering and spending time with family, she spends her time working on her autobiography. “I am calling it Chinny. My dad used to call me ‘chinny’ because I am stubborn!” she says laughing.

Stubbornness aside, Marj, who has been a recipient of the Chairman’s Award for Excellence, is a treasured volunteer and member of the A&E team.


 

A Day in the Life of Clara

Hello my name is Clara. 

I am a three year old border collie and I am also a therapy dog for the charity, ‘Pets as Therapy’.  One of the favourite parts of my job, is my weekly visit to QA Hospital.  Every Wednesday, I visit patients in the surgery department.  I love meeting new people!  In addition to meeting patients (and getting my nose scratched) I also enjoy visiting hospital staff and other volunteers…basically anyone who needs me.   The only thing that I don’t like about my job, is the disinfectant my mum puts on my paws before I go into the ward. It makes me sneeze!

Patients tell me that I cheer them up.  One person in critical care told me that when I visit, it is like I bringing the outside world into the ward.  He smiled when he said that.

Being a volunteer for ‘Pets as Therapy’ and getting to meet new people at QA hospital is the best!

If you see me, don’t forget to say hello


 

Sylvia and John

When Sylvia retired seventeen years ago she wanted to volunteer in a place where she would be guaranteed to be social and meet interesting people. It was with that goal in mind that she became a hospital guide at QA Hospital. Sylvia has never looked back. In fact, Sylvia enjoyed being a guide so much that when her husband John retired two years after she did, she suggested he volunteer as a hospital guide as well.

Clearly both Sylvia and John enjoy helping people.

“It can be daunting coming in to hospital,” Sylvia says.  “You don’t know where to go; you may be ill yourself or upset that a family member is sick in hospital.  The job of a hospital guide is to help people find where they need to go.

In addition to being friendly—and knowing your way around the hospital, both Sylvia and John contend that it is essential that a hospital guide have compassion.

“I have taken families to the morgue when they had to identify their loved ones,” John notes.  “I have taken injured people to A&E.  Basically whenever someone needs help; I’m there.”

Sylvia volunteers twelve hour a week and John volunteers for fifteen.  Two days a week they drive in together.  “There are times when we don’t see each other in the day.” John says.  However, Syliva admits to loving being able to “bounce things off each other” when the couple gets home.Clearly both Sylvia and John enjoy helping people.

The pair have been married for 53 years and when asked who is the best at their job, John (perhaps indicating the key to their successful marriage), smiles and says his wife is by far the best.

“It can be daunting coming in to the hospital,” Sylvia says. “You don’t know where to go; you may be ill yourself or upset that a family member is sick in hospital. The job of a hospital guide is to help people find where they need to go. In addition to being friendly—and knowing your way around the hospital, both Sylvia and John contend that is essential that a hospital guide has compassion.

“I have taken families to the morgue when they had to identify their loved ones," John notes. "I have taken injured people to A&E. Basically whenever someone needs help; I'm here.”

Sylvia volunteers twelve hours a week and John volunteers for fifteen. Two days a week they drive in together. “There are times when we don’t see each other in the day.” John says. However, Sylvia admits to loving being able to “bounce things off each other” when the couple gets home.

The pair have been married for 53 years and when asked who is the best at their job, John (perhaps indicating the key to their successful marriage), smiles and says his wife is by far the best.

Clearly both Sylvia and John enjoy helping people.

“It can be daunting coming in to the hospital,” Sylvia says. “You don’t know where to go; you may be ill yourself or upset that a family member is sick in hospital. The job of a hospital guide is to help people find where they need to go. In addition to being friendly—and knowing your way around the hospital, both Sylvia and John contend that is essential that a hospital guide has compassion.

“I have taken families to the morgue when they had to identify their loved ones," John notes. "I have taken injured people to A&E. Basically whenever someone needs help; I'm here.”

Sylvia volunteers twelve hours a week and John volunteers for fifteen. Two days a week they drive in together. “There are times when we don’t see each other in the day.” John says. However, Sylvia admits to loving being able to “bounce things off each other” when the couple gets home.

The pair have been married for 53 years and when asked who is the best at their job, John (perhaps indicating the key to their successful marriage), smiles and says his wife is by far the best.

Clearly both Sylvia and John enjoy helping people.

“It can be daunting coming in to the hospital,” Sylvia says. “You don’t know where to go; you may be ill yourself or upset that a family member is sick in hospital. The job of a hospital guide is to help people find where they need to go. In addition to being friendly—and knowing your way around the hospital, both Sylvia and John contend that is essential that a hospital guide has compassion.

“I have taken families to the morgue when they had to identify their loved ones," John notes. "I have taken injured people to A&E. Basically whenever someone needs help; I'm here.”

Sylvia volunteers twelve hours a week and John volunteers for fifteen. Two days a week they drive in together. “There are times when we don’t see each other in the day.” John says. However, Sylvia admits to loving being able to “bounce things off each other” when the couple gets home.

The pair have been married for 53 years and when asked who is the best at their job, John (perhaps indicating the key to their successful marriage), smiles and says his wife is by far the best.

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Last updated - 09 June 2017

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Telephone:
023 9228 6401

Email:
voluntaryservices @porthosp.nhs.uk

In writing addressed to:
Voluntary Services Office
A Level Queen Alexandra Hospital
Portsmouth
Hampshire
PO6 3LY

Working together to drive excellence in care for our patients and communities

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PO6 3LY
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