Hospital volunteers and Friends receive Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Deputy Lieutenant Caroline Breckell presents the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to long-standing volunteer Christine Keattch
Deputy Lieutenant Caroline Breckell presents the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service to long-standing volunteer Christine Keattch

VOLUNTEERS and Friends at Holy Cross Hospital, Haslemere, have been formally presented with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

The award is the highest accolade for volunteer groups across the UK and recognises outstanding work carried out in communities for the benefit of others.

The Holy Cross Hospital team was commended for ‘improving the quality of life for people with severe and complex neuro-disabilities by providing meaningful social activities’.

Caroline Breckell, Deputy Lieutenant of Surrey, visited on Monday to make the formal presentation, handing a commemorative domed glass crystal, certificate and citation signed by the Queen to Christine Keattch.

Miss Keattch has been volunteering at Holy Cross, in Hindhead Road, for 18 years and is one of the longest-serving volunteers.

The presentation was witnessed by many current and past volunteers and Friends, deputy lieutenants, the High Sheriff and mayors from Waverley and Haslemere.

Christopher Hinton, hospital chief Executive, said: “I feel honoured that the volunteers and Friends have been put forward for this prestigious award.

“Volunteering has been happening at Holy Cross for nearly 100 years. It began in 1916 when the Sisters acquired the site on which Holy Cross now resides. The Sisters encouraged others from the local community to join them by volunteering to help with their work.”

Volunteers continue to make a big difference to patients’ lives to this day. They enable a wide-range of activities in the hospital as well as outings such as home visits, trips to the seaside and local amenities. Their friendly human contact contributes to the quality of life of patients and their families.

The work of the volunteers is supported by the fundraising efforts of the Friends, a group that was established in 1960. The money they raise funds activities such as the art group and maintaining the Senses Garden.

The Friends have recently agreed to fund the purchase of a minibus to replace one they bought some years ago.

Deputy Lieutenant Karin Sehmer read the citation and praised the contribution made by the Friends and volunteers.

She described the Queen’s Award as being ‘the equivalent of an MBE to the volunteers as a group’.

The presentation ended with warm words of thanks from sister trustee Sister Mary Agnes.

She described the presentation as a ‘wonderful occasion’ and a ‘great opportunity to get so many volunteers together and to thank them for everything they do’.

To find out more about volunteering at Holy Cross Hospital, contact Charles Marriott, patient activities co-ordinator, email or call 01428 643311.

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