THE work done by the 500 volunteers across Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was celebrated with a series of tea parties.

The events, which were held to coincide with Volunteers’ Week 2018, took place at all three hospitals run by the trust in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, with volunteers enjoying a cup of tea and slice of cake.

Volunteers help to support both staff and patients a variety of ways, including driving patients to and from appointments, helping staff on wards, helping at mealtimes, talking to patients, answering phones, helping with back office functions and even recruiting and training new volunteers.

Each of the events was attended by special guest speaker, Alex Lewis, who delivered message about the importance of volunteering and the impact volunteers can have on patients.

In 2013, Alex was rushed to hospital in Winchester where it was discovered he had contracted Strep A, which took a sinister path to Strep A Toxic Shock Syndrome, septicaemia and necrotising fasciitis. Resulting in quadruple amputation and requiring extensive skin grafts and facial reconstruction, Alex has first-hand experience of the difference volunteers can make to patient’s in hospital.

Alex, from Stockbridge, said: “I’ll always be thankful for all of the volunteers I spent time with whilst I was in hospital, at no point did I feel alone and there was always a friendly face to talk to and to confide in about things I couldn’t talk to anyone else about.”

Addressing the volunteers, Alex said: “What you all do and what you give to both patients and staff is enormous. You are incredibly valued and I am sure if there were other patients here too, they would all say the same thing. On behalf of us all; thank you.”

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals, said: “We are incredibly grateful for everything our volunteers do and it’s wonderful to recognise their efforts in this special way at part of Volunteers Week.

“They make a difference, not only to our patients, but to our staff as well, and it’s fantastic to have them as part of our team.

“As we celebrate the NHS’ 70th birthday this year we are taking the time to think of the many achievements of the NHS and of Hampshire Hospitals. Our volunteers are such important members of our team and we couldn’t do what we do, without them.”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities at Hampshire Hospitals, go to