Over 330 North East Ambulance Service volunteers were thanked for their support at an anuual event during Volunteer’s Week recently.
Volunteer porters, ambulance car service drivers, community first responders and governors invest thousands of hours in the service every year, helping some along their chosen career path and giving others the chance to give something back.
A number of volunteers were recognised for long service of between two and 20 years.
Yvonne Ormston, NEAS Chief Executive, said: “Volunteers make a significant contribution to their community in lots of ways in our organisation. Over the last 12 months, we have invested even more in our volunteers to ensure they have up to date skills and equipment to be an effective volunteer.
“Volunteering with NEAS gives people an opportunity to meet new people and invest in their community, often giving them experiences that will support their entering other NHS careers.
“Our staff and volunteers touch the lives of thousands of patients, and make a difference day in, day out. This event is about getting our volunteers together to show how much we appreciate their service and to say an enormous thank you for all that they do.”
Jean and Tom Metcalfe, of Acomb, regularly use the ambulance car service to allow Jean to attend eye appointments in Sunderland. They submitted an appreciation for Bob Pattinson, one of many to earn Bob a special recognition certificate at the event.
Jean explained, “Each and every driver we have from the service is wonderful, they’re so reliable and so caring, but Bob is that extra special – he’s very joyous, full of fun and you would never feel low when in his company.”
The 52-year-old, of Blyth, who only began volunteering with the service in November 2017 after a career in the military, said: “I like to help people – I have done all my life – I can talk for England and I love driving so this volunteering opportunity was an ideal opportunity for me. This is my way of giving something back and I love it, you meet so many different people from all walks of life.
“People generally don’t like going to hospital, especially as they get older, so if I can ensure that my payment has had an enjoyable journey then I’ve achieved my goal.
“I was overwhelmed to receive this recognition. I just do what I’m asked to do, I don’t see it as anything special. All my working life I’ve given 100 per cent and that’s what I continue to do now in this role.”
Anyone interested in volunteering with NEAS can find out more at http://bit.ly/neasvolunteers