Hospital volunteer receives prestigious national award

Noreen Purvis receiving her awardA volunteer at Southampton’s teaching hospitals has received a prestigious national award for her work with the League of Friends.

Noreen Purvis, who joined the charity’s branch at Southampton General Hospital in 2001, was presented with the Order of Mercy medal at a ceremony in London.

After a year working as a guide to help patients and visitors find their way around the site, she moved into the League of Friends shop before joining the committee and serving as the organisation’s secretary.

Among her current duties, Noreen orders stock for the shops and tea bars, arranges an annual fete and Christmas lunch for members and oversees the delivery of a Christmas present for every patient in hospital over the festive period.

“Noreen is dedicated to helping and giving something back to her local hospital and she is truly deserving of this award,” said Kim Sutton, voluntary services manager at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

“I have rarely seen such a hard working and dedicated volunteer who is so determined to improve the patient experience – she is unique.”

Noreen said: “A kind word or a smile to the patients is worth more than anything money can buy and, to me, volunteering at the hospital means smoothing off some of the rougher corners in the health service and making that difference.”

The distinguished Order of Mercy award was created by the League of Mercy, an organisation formed to recognise voluntary work in hospitals and the community, in 1899 to reward people who have given more than seven years of outstanding voluntary service.

Lord Lingfield, president of the League of Mercy, added: “Mrs Purvis has done extraordinary work for the welfare of others and those most in need.

“She is a marvellous example of someone whose longstanding and voluntary dedication to the service and welfare of others is noteworthy and remarkable and we were delighted to be able to make this well deserved award to her.”

The League of Friends supports and provides services to patients and visitors at Southampton General and the Princess Anne hospitals through funds generated in its shops and tea bars.

Over the past five years, the charity has donated more £800,000 to provide innovative ‘cake and concert’ sessions for older patients, purchase items including walking frames, chairs and trolleys and fund hi-tech medical and diagnostic equipment.

To find out more about the organisation or to sign up as a volunteer, call 023 8120 6314 or visit

Posted on Monday 27 July 2015