‘One of a kind’ NHS volunteer receives Coronation Champion Award

30th May 2023

Blandford Hospital volunteer Eileen Waters has received a Coronation Champion Award from His Majesty The King and Queen Camilla for her outstanding contribution to voluntary service.

The Coronation Champion Awards celebrate extraordinary people across the country who have made a real difference to their communities.

Eileen, 83, has volunteered for the Dorset HealthCare-run hospital for six years and was one of 500 people (chosen from thousands of nominations) to be recognised by the Royal Voluntary Service as part of the coronation celebrations.

And, during this year’s Volunteers’ Week (1-7 June), Dorset HealthCare is celebrating the difference Eileen and other volunteers make to patients, staff and carers.


Eileen with her award certificate at Blandford Hospital.jpegEileen’s volunteering role at Blandford Hospital involves helping on the Tarrant Ward for older people who need rehabilitation and palliative care.

She enriches the lives of the patients by spending quality time and supporting them at their most vulnerable time, as well as leading activities such as reading and playing games, and helping ward staff. She has even visited patients in a local care home once they have been discharged from the hospital, to provide a friendly, familiar face.

Eileen said:

“I started volunteering as I wanted to do something where I could make a difference, where you could see what you’ve done and feel what you’ve done. I leave the hospital so thrilled and delighted.

“When I heard I had got the Coronation Champion Award, I felt proud, honoured and humble all at the same time. Knowing I was one of just 500 winners felt unbelievable – tears ran down my face.”

Hospital Matron Annette Sanchez said:

“Eileen is a ray of sunshine and so very valuable to us. She is fabulous with the patients, giving them her time and patience, chatting with them and showing such care. She has the incredible ability to listen to the needs of every patient.

“She has supported hundreds of patients during their stay, making them laugh, listening to their needs and providing comfort, and is especially considerate to those without loved ones.

Kim Mansbridge, Dorset HealthCare’s Volunteers Development Lead, added:

“Eileen is the sole carer for her very ill husband and is recovering from a recent operation herself, but still finds the time to help others.

“We are very lucky to have such amazing volunteers who give us the gift of their time for the benefit of our patients, staff and carers. Volunteers bring such joy to our hospital wards and services, just with their smiles and willingness to help and support. 

“If you have some spare time, we are currently looking for more volunteers to join our friendly community hospitals to undertake what is a very rewarding role.”

Dorset HealthCare has a range of volunteering roles available and is recruiting for more ‘Helping Hands’ volunteers at its community hospitals across the county. People in this role spend time chatting and listening to patients, supporting them at mealtimes and with various activities. Find out how to get involved at www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/join-us/volunteers

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