Hospital volunteer rewarded for bringing comfort to patients

Margaret White volunteer Army award (web)
(Last Updated On: December 16, 2019)

A long-term hospital volunteer has been recognised for visiting and cheering up patients at Torbay Hospital.

Margaret White was presented with a certificate in recognition of her support for military families over many years, especially by informally visiting former soldiers in hospital.

She has also been an official volunteer pastoral visitor for the last five years within the chaplaincy at the hospital, run by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.

Margaret has a long history of service, along with her late husband George, to military families before her volunteering at the hospital and was treated to a surprise presentation by the Coldstream Guards Association hosted by the Trust in the hospital boardroom.

Hospital Chaplain Martin Manley said: “This is a thoroughly deserved award expressing the gratitude of not only of the armed forces community, but also our patients.

“Margaret comes in on Saturday mornings to visit patients on our behalf. This could be to offer spiritual support, but more often it is as a friendly face for people who may not have many other visitors.

“Margaret is a delightful person, and we greatly value her contribution to our work.”

Margaret, whose husband was a Sergeant Major in the Coldstream Guards, said: “This award is a great honour, but really it’s a team effort for the chaplaincy team. It’s a blessing to be part of the team and to be a comfort to patients who often have no one to visit them. I get as much out of visiting as they do. Sometimes they have a military background, which is when they value me so much.

“I also accept the award in memory of George who worked with me on Army welfare. Also, I’m so grateful to the hospital who looked after him so well when he was ill.”

Sir Richard Ibbotson, Chairman of Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We very much value the support that Margaret has selflessly given the people we serve.”

He added that the award reflected the appreciation and support given to the Armed Forces, as marked by the signing by the Trust of the Armed Forces Covenant this year.

Philip Hutchens, of the Coldstream Guards Association, Exeter Branch, said: “We are delighted to present a ‘Certificate of Merit’ to Mrs Margaret White for the outstanding service, she has done for former members of the ‘Household Division’ in visiting and spending time with former Guardsman and their families, who not only have been admitted into Torbay Hospital, but she also visits them within the community of Torbay/Newton Abbot.”

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