Hospital volunteer named among 100 inspirational people in Britain

Malcolm KitsonA 79-year-old volunteer at Southampton’s teaching hospitals has been named one of the 100 most inspirational people in Britain.

Malcolm Kitson, who has devoted the past 14 years helping to improve life for patients on the medicine for older people wards at Southampton General Hospital, was included in the Independent on Sunday’s Happy List 2015.

The initiative, founded in 2008 to highlight individuals “whose kindness, ingenuity and bravery make Britain a better place to live”, is supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.

Malcolm, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2011, initially spent three days a week supporting staff on wards by talking to and reassuring patients, helping at mealtimes and lending a hand to release nurses to perform other tasks.

In recent years, he has focused on developing a training scheme for young volunteers and has so far seen more than 1,000 people between the ages of 16 and 24 pass through his tailored programme.

He personally trains each volunteer to carry out patient surveys and perform a variety of roles on the wards to maintain consistency and enable hospital staff to benefit quickly from additional support.

In addition, Malcolm has received specialist nutrition and dietetic training to become a ‘feeding buddy’ for older patients and leads Time for You, a programme which involves sending volunteers to spend time with patients who rarely or do not receive visitors.

Kim Sutton, voluntary services manager at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Malcolm’s attention to detail, his keenness to help and his flexibility, helping wherever needed, has earned the respect of the ward staff, peers and patients.

“He is a shining example and a beacon of inspiration for the older generation that they continue to contribute to society and the future workforce in a powerful way.”

The Happy List also included a foster mum who has cared for over 1,200 children over four decades, a teenage cerebral palsy sufferer who defied the odds to sail the Channel and one of Britain's longest serving Samaritans.

Among ten household names recognised were veteran broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, author JK Rowling, who founded a charity to help end the institutionalisation of children and footballer Danny Ings, who self-funds a project to deliver football coaching to disabled youngsters and those with learning difficulties.

Mr Cameron, who last year introduced government scheme Points of Light to recognise the work of inspirational volunteers, added: “The Independent on Sunday's Happy List is a great way to recognise even more of those hardworking people who go the extra mile to help those around them.”

All 100 individuals will now be put forward for special recognition at the JustGiving 2015 Awards, where an overall winner will be chosen by members of the public and announced at a ceremony in London in September.

Posted on Monday 8 June 2015