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National Volunteers Week – 75 years of the NHS - and some of our dedicated volunteers

01 Jun 2023 - Press Release

During National Volunteers Week we’re celebrating this year being the 75th birthday of the NHS – and also of some our valued and committed volunteers. 

Peter Jackson, Anne Wilcox and Neale Raven were each born in 1948, the same year as the health service. They are three of over two hundred dedicated volunteers who work for us at Stepping Hill Hospital in a number of wards and departments.

There have been volunteers in the NHS throughout its existence, performing an invaluable role for patients and their staff colleagues. In Stockport, they perform many different roles, such as greeting and guiding patients when they first visit the hospital, performing administrative tasks, or serving in one of the hospital’s retail shops.

Peter Jackson, from Bredbury, started volunteering back in 2008 as soon as he retired, as he wanted to do something completely different from his career in engineering. Since then he has taken on a number of roles, including guiding and helping staff and patients at mealtimes, but he has found his most rewarding time in recent years helping out as part of the Chaplaincy team, going on to the wards to chat with patients and their visitors.

For those who need it, he offers a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, and enjoys the many interesting and amusing stories which patients and visitors have to tell.

Anne Wilcox was born in Buxton, grew up and lives in Cheadle Hulme, and had a career as a safety officer at the University of Sheffield. On retirement she missed working with people and so took up volunteering at the hospital, at first working on patient surveys. Later, like Peter, she joined the Chaplaincy team, and her main role is in visiting wards and talking with patients, although she also does office work and odd jobs such as defrosting the Chaplaincy fridge (which took over two days!)

Anne says it is a great privilege being able to meet people of all faiths and none; being a listening ear to those who are worried about the future, sad, lonely, hurting or just plain bored. She looks forward to coming in on each and every working day.

Neale Raven is originally from Aldershot, but his wife, children and two grandchildren were all born in Stepping Hill Hospital, and he says he owes everything to the NHS following their care both for his cancer and heart condition. He was a patient at Ward A11 for six weeks in November and December 2021 while awaiting a heart operation.

During this time, Neale was inspired by the selfless volunteers on this ward and also by the many hard working members of staff. He decided that once he got better that he would like to ‘put something back in’ as a thank you for all the care and attention he received. Since then he has volunteered for four hours a week on the same ward which cared for him, and thoroughly enjoys it.

Yvonne Hanson, Voluntary Services Manager, said “There have been volunteers supporting the National Health Service right from its very beginning, and its amazing that some of our volunteers were born in the same year as the NHS. During National Volunteers Week we’d like to say a huge thank you to all our volunteers for the fantastic work they do, and invite others who may be thinking about volunteering to get in touch with us.”

The voluntary service department at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust is always keen for new recruits to join. If you think you may be interested in the being a volunteer, then visit the ‘volunteer’ section of this website  , e-mail voluntaryservices@stockport.nhs.uk or call 0161 419 5400.


(l-r) Volunteers Peter Jackson, Anne Wilcox and Neale Raven

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