We could not have picked a more glorious and sun-soaked afternoon to hold our volunteer thank you party in our beautiful garden.
It was a day to say thanks to so many of our volunteers who make our work possible and bring that extra special something to the care we provide. Many patients spend quite some time at Mildmay Hospital working towards their recovery, many are bed-bound and unable to get out and about. To have input from caring and dedicated people other than staff is a breath of fresh air and quite simply invaluable.
One of the joys of holding this gathering at our hospital was that staff, patients and volunteers had the opportunity to join together to have some fun and share a wonderful afternoon. The patients who were able to come along really enjoyed the party which included a Jerk-Chicken BBQ, a gorgeous buffet, cool mocktails and a live band.
Those patients that were unable to leave the ward had BBQ specials delivered and were able to still enjoy the music that drifted to the summer skies and through the open windows! The party was organised so brilliantly by Dominic – our Volunteer Services Lead, with some help from….you’ve guessed it our volunteers! There to help organise their own party! Our volunteer Krish was chief photographer and on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly.
I guess all organisations have people with unexpected talents and Mildmay is no exception! The live band was fantastic and formed especially for the occasion – Our Chief Executive Director on the drums, Dominic Cookson on guitar and John Sampson on guitar and vocals. John also volunteers, running music therapy group on a Thursday for Mildmay’s Day Services.
As well as current volunteers, some who have been with us for twenty years, we were thrilled to welcome volunteers who have left but returned for the occasion to catch up with old friends.
Last but my no means least was the volunteer awards which were (Drum roll):
Most Versatile Volunteer – Two Awards
Awarded to Barry Rowan who was described by Sister Bernie as someone who is “… worth their weight in gold”
As well as volunteering with chaplaincy, Barry helps with collecting supplies, inducting new volunteers, helping with patients at meal-times and is an expert at officiating at our patient’s bingo sessions! He is also very funny!
Awarded to Adam Shepherd ( who was also celebrating his birthday) who on arrival at Mildmay was asked to run the film club and a brilliant job he did too. He is now an integral part of the music therapy group. In spite of saying he was not an experienced musician he is doing a fantastic job and is really supporting and encouraging patients so they get the most out of this therapy, which is such an important part of their rehabilitation.
Awarded to Brian Armstrong Described by our fundraising and Communications Director Kerry, as “ a loyal and dedicated member of our team who has been volunteering at Mildmay for 20 years, fundraising would not be the same without our Brian.”
Brian has battled with many issues this year but is steadfast in his support of Mildmay, helping to raise the vital funds needed to support our work. He is always there to support us at Pride whatever the weather and at our annual Christmas Carol Concert where he has single-handedly made Christmas jumpers cool again!
Most Famous Volunteer
Could be none other than the brilliant Keith Norman whose steady and regular support and talent is invaluable in Day Services, where he plays the piano to accompany clients during music therapy sessions and also during events when our Mildmay Choir perform. He also found the time to appear alongside HRH Prince Harry in the BBC One Documentary The Truth About HIV. In fact he has now met Prince Harry twice at Mildmay!
Dedicated Service Award
Awarded to Maxine Palmer who has been volunteering in Mildmay Day Services since 2012.
Patricia Day Services Co ordinator said of Maxine “ “Maxine is an amazing volunteer who goes all out to support clients in spite of challenges with her vision. Maxine gives that positive air all the time and as she interacts with clients she shares her struggles and makes you feel you can do whatever you set your mind to. She always has a big smile for everyone.”
Volunteer of The Year for 2016/2017
Awarded to Henna Begum – the most enthusiastic volunteer we have ever had. She has helped in every department since she has arrived and had proved invaluable in every setting. A well deserved recipient.
We also nominated Henna for the UEL Volunteering Award which we are delighted to report she won.
The Special Prize
Went to Muhammad Abdul-Basit and Brigita Rasiukeuciute for their wonderful help in the planning of and in conducting interviews for this year’s Volunteers Survey
Hoorahs all round with A BIG thank you to our Mildmay Volunteers!