Hospital trust's "star" volunteer, 80, to receive 55-year award

An 80-year-old who has spent more than half of her life volunteering at Southampton’s teaching hospitals was honoured at a long service ceremony today (Friday).

Maggie Mole, who joined the voluntary services team at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust in 1960 after retiring as a healthcare assistant, was presented with an award to mark 55 years with the organisation.

Her love affair with staff, patients and visitors in the city began at the site of the original Southampton Children’s Hospital, which was situated on Winchester Road from 1884 until 1974.

Maggie and her late husband Mick started out by saving Green Shield Stamps, a promotion run by grocery stores in the 1960s and 1970s which enabled them to be exchanged for gifts, and using them to buy toys to donate to young patients.

She then joined the League of Friends charity and became a hostess in children’s outpatients, where she escorted patients to their x-rays, before moving across with children’s services from the standalone building into Southampton General Hospital.

She has since undertaken a variety of roles, from spending time with patients and guiding people around the site, to supporting staff and helping with administrative work and is currently based on ward F5 – the ward she worked on as a healthcare assistant – with the ear, nose and throat team for one day a week.

“Maggie has dedicated her life to volunteering and helping in this hospital trust and it is an absolute pleasure to recognise her efforts with this distinguished award – she’s a star,” said Kim Sutton, voluntary services manager at UHS.

“She is a great person to be around and full of stories and anecdotes, such as how she would escort children around the outside of the old children’s hospital for their x-rays and have to wait for the images to be passed to her through a toilet window!”

She added: “Volunteers like Maggie, who offer such commitment, enthusiasm and dedication to our organisation, really do change the hospital experience for so many people and we are extremely grateful for that.”

Maggie said: “Volunteering has been such a big and important part of my life and it is a wonderful feeling to play a part in helping the hospital to function by supporting patients and staff.”

A total of 242 volunteers with 1,726 years of service were recognised at the event, which took place a day before International Volunteer Day.

Anne King, who set up a voluntary hearing aid support service at the Royal South Hants Hospital, and Roy Stubbs, a broadcaster with Southampton Hospital Radio, received 35-year awards.

In addition, golden retriever Leo and his owner Lyndsey Uglow and collie Deano with his owner Rob Brewer collected special bone-shaped certificates to mark three years with the hospital trust as Pets as Therapy (PAT) dogs.

Many other volunteers from groups including the League of Friends, Radio Lollipop, Macmillan, the Talking Echo and the interpreters’ service were recognised by UHS at the ceremony, held in the Heartbeat Education Centre at Southampton General Hospital.

The awards were presented by Councillor Linda Norris, the Mayor of Southampton, and John Trewby, chair of UHS.

Posted on Friday 4 December 2015