A VOLUNTEER group which has raised over £3 million for St Cross Hospital during its lifetime has been honoured by the Queen.
Friends of the Hospital of St Cross formally received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service – informally known as the volunteers’ MBE – from the Queen’s representative, Tim Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire.
Founded 59 years ago, the charity has recruited over 200 volunteers to serve in various ways in the hospital and raised over £3m, which has provided much needed equipment to improve patients’ experiences in the hospital, the community and across mental health services.
Presenting the award, Mr Cox said: “I am delighted to be commanded by the Queen to present the charity with this award in recognition of excellent work that the charity has done over the past 59 years
“The scale of the achievement of this honour is reflected in the fact that you are the only charity to receive this award in Warwickshire and one of only 111 nationally recognised this year.”
Accepting the award, Joan Jesson, President of the Friends of St Cross, was delighted to accept the award.
He said: “The £3 million which has been donated to health services in Rugby would not have been possible without the generosity of the local community, and the hard work and commitment of our volunteers.
“Over that period of time there have been a great many individuals whose hard work has built a solid foundation on which we have developed our organisation and kept their ethos of wanting to make a difference to the patient experience.
“All of the volunteers feel honoured and very proud to have their work acknowledged by being presented with this prestigious award.”
Juliet Starkey, General Manager at the Hospital of St Cross, praised the efforts of the volunteers.
She said: “There is not an operational department in the hospital which has not benefited at some time from a donation from The Friends, and their volunteers are always willing to take on new non-clinical services which improve the patient experience.
“The staff are coming up with lots of ways of supporting the Diamond Jubilee Appeal and are confident that the high regard in which the charity is held by the community will ensure that the appeal will succeed and we will have a new phlebotomy service to be proud of in the new year.”
Meanwhile, the charity’s Diamond Jubilee Appeal, which aims to raise £60,000 for improved phlebotomy (blood-taking) services to be unveiled next year, continues to snowball with donations and fundraising activities continuing apace.
Sainsburys Local in Clifton Road has selected The Friends as their charity of the year, and hope to raise over £1,000 for the appeal with a series of fund-raising events.
Community yoga group Shree Kaylan Yog Kendra has donated £151 to the appeal. Volunteers and supporters organised a scenic cruise on the River Avon in Stratford, raising £960 – almost double the estimate when the event was planned.
And a cash collection at Tesco’s Leicester Road store raised £527 on Friday and Saturday (September 5-6).
Forthcoming events include Cuppa and Crafts events at the Paddox and Bilton Methodist Church halls (September 20 and 27 respectively), and a book sale in Clock Towers Shopping Centre on October 4.
A team of St Cross staff also hope to raise over £500 at the 10k Run for Rotary at Draycote Water on September 28. Visit www.localgiving.com/fundraising/gehrunners to sponsor them.
See www.fsx.org.uk for more details.
Tim Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, presents the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service to Joan Jesson, President of the Friends of the Hospital of St Cross. Photo by Eddie White.