MORE than 70 county and community hospital volunteers attended an “appreciation ceremony”

held to recognise their work.

At the event at Hereford’s Merton Hotel, Wye Valley NHS Trust chairman Mark Curtis extended the trust’s “heartfelt thanks” to the “extraordinary”

volunteers that the trust could not do without.

Each year, volunteers at Hereford’s County Hospital, Ross, Leominster and Bromyard Community Hospitals and Hillside Rehabilitation Centre contribute a total of about 15,000 hours.

The support provided ranges from reception, to visiting wards to assist patients at meal times, enabling healthcare staff to focus on providing direct patient care.

Behind the scenes, volunteers are also putting their efforts into fund-raising for the hospitals.

Many of the volunteers are former patients, or have relatives and friends that have been cared for at the county’s hospitals, and want to give something back.

Roma Watkins, a 69-year-old volunteer at Leominster Community Hospital, said she got into volunteering when she moved into the area and wanted to help out.

“It’s rewarding to spend time with patients just having a chat or helping them at meal times, and the staff on the wards are very supportive,” she added.

“It's so nice to know that you are making a difference to someone.”

Jane Derry, volunteer co-ordinator at the trust, said: “It is hard to say enough about these lovely people for their ongoing commitment and dedication to our patients, and for their enthusiastic fund-raising efforts, raising more than £5,000 in the last year alone towards enhancing patient facilities and equipment”.

For more information on volunteering with the trust, call Jane Derry on 01432 372970.