Norwich hospital honours Sprowston volunteer of 40 years

Long-serving volunteers at a Norfolk hospital have been recognised for their efforts, including an inspiring great-grandmother who has been giving up her time for four decades.

Many of the 600 volunteers at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital gathered yesterday for a Christmas celebration which saw the commitment of 22 volunteers recognised with long-service awards.

But the star of the show was undoubtedly 81-year-old Nora Long, who is the first hospital volunteer to notch up an impressive 40 years.

Mrs Long, of Cannerby Lane, Sprowston, Norwich, helps out one day a week in the Day Procedure Unit and is described by her colleagues as 'a national treasure'.

She began volunteering when her two children started school. Mrs Long said: 'I offer the patients a cup of tea and run errands for the staff.

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'I like to be helpful - if I was being paid, I'm sure I wouldn't enjoy the work as much as I do.'

Lyn Turner, 89, from Thorpe St Andrew, was honoured for her 20 years of service as a volunteer and said she would 'recommend it to anyone'. Helping to man an outpatient reception, she said: 'We do try to help people as they come in as going in to hospital can be frightening for some people. If we can put them at their ease and lend a helping hand it makes a great deal of difference and it's a lovely hospital.'

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Volunteers were treated to a special Christmas buffet prepared by Serco and presented with certificates by the High Sheriff of Norfolk, Georgina Holloway, who told them: 'I had no idea there were as many volunteers and this hospital wouldn't work without you, so on behalf of Norwich and myself, thank you so much.'

Colin Websdell, 68, from Northfields, near Eaton Park, said the kindness of the staff had enabled him to overcome his disability and learning difficulties and serve as a volunteer for five years.

He said: ' I enjoy helping people and meeting people. It brightens up my life.'

Retired British Telecom and National Blood Service worker Brian Matthews has been helping for five years to man an outpatient reception. The 71-year-old started volunteering after he retired and was looking for something to keep him busy.

The grandfather-of-three, from Myrtle Road in Hethersett, said: 'Since my wife died it gets me out of the house and I enjoy coming here, meeting people and working with people.'

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