THE achievements of volunteers across Southampton’s teaching hospitals were celebrated at a ceremony during Volunteers’ Week.

The Annual Service Awards last Wednesday, hosted by chairman of University Hospital Southampton (UHS) NHS Foundation Trust, Peter Hollins, saw dozens of staff members and guests attend.

In total, 66 volunteers were honoured on the day for a combined total of more than 515 years of service to UHS.

Mr Hollins said: “It is always an extremely humbling experience to be in the presence of so many individuals who have shown such outstanding commitment to this organisation to help improve the experience patients have with us.”

One individual, Chris Litton, was honoured for dedicating 50 years to Southampton Hospital Radio.

Judges also crowned the volunteer of the year, Doug Baker, who is referred to as the “grandfather of Southampton Children’s Hospital” for his work supporting young patients in the activity centre

He regularly purchases equipment and toys out of his own money.

Carrie Smith, voluntary services manager at UHS, said: "Volunteers’ Week is the chance to celebrate all that is great about volunteering and to take the time to say thank you to our valued volunteers.

“We are all extremely grateful for the help they give us at UHS – they give us their time and energy freely, have seen a need, answered a call for help and committed to a role with us and, for some of them, this is something they have done for many years."

Peter Johnson, who volunteers as a mealtime assistant and supports the chaplaincy team every week, received the award for outstanding commitment.

Another ten staff members and volunteers were recognised for completing a 12-week interpreting course, and are now able to help patients who need language support.

Carrie added: "Our volunteers regularly tell us they get a great sense of personal enjoyment from giving something back, perhaps for services or treatment they have received in the past, and it is this gratitude that inspired them to help."

"We feel so grateful for the support our wonderful volunteers give us every day and we were privileged to be able to recognise their achievements at this special time of year."