A LABOUR OF LOVE: Ripley volunteer honoured for 40 years’ loyal support to baby unit

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A Ripley volunteer was among 90 loyal supporters who have been honoured by Derby Teaching Hospitals for more than 1,000 years of dedicated service.

The group received gifts in honour of five, 10, 15, 20, 30 and even 40 years’ service in a special ceremony which took place at the Royal Derby Hospital.

Volunteers working across the trust, in chaplaincy, sight support, the Macmillan unit and in countless other roles were among those recognised on the day.

Pauline Skidmore, secretary with Friends of the Baby Unit, was the longest-serving volunteer at the ceremony, collecting an award for 40 years.

The 69-year-old, from Ripley, said: “My son Richard was on the unit for four weeks in 1975 and we were all so well cared for. We bought cakes and biscuits to say thank you, but it didn’t really seem enough.

“The last 40 years with Friends of the Baby Unit has been one long thank you. The unit has changed a lot since then, and when you think about the technology they have in place in there, it’s amazing.

“I’m so proud to have been involved with the Friends who support that.”

The trust has almost 1,000 volunteers who work directly with patients and staff to support the smooth running of the hospitals, including four friends groups which raise money for the trust.

Paul Brooks, Associate Director for Patient Experience and Facilities, said: “Our volunteers are at the heart of our trust, and we wouldn’t be able to do what we do without them.

“They help to make our hospital less frightening for patients and welcoming at a time when they may be feeling vulnerable.

“They also support our staff to make sure we can give our patients a positive experience while they are with us.”