AS the NHS approaches its 75th birthday one Rainhill couple is close to marking 40 years as hospital volunteers.
Eamon and Maeve O’Neill were first asked to support Catholic patients in Whiston Hospital in 1984 and are still providing the service 39 years later offering communion and advice and support to patients.
Maeve admits it has been a labour of love for the now retired pair who say they feel “privileged’’ to be able to do their roles.
Maeve said: “Originally we were asked by some Sisters at our church, St Bartholomew’s RC, if we could bring Holy Communion to Catholic patients in the hospital and we were more than happy to help.
“Over the years the hospital buildings and the people who manage us have changed but the job we do is very much the same.
“We are there to give comfort to patients at a time of need. People in hospital are here for so many reasons and everyone has a story and with us in essence being strangers they often want to tell us their story and we are more than happy to listen.
“In truth, we feel that we get far more from the job than we give it. That is because I feel that we are privileged to meet so many people every day and get to give them solace and comfort.
“It’s a wonderful feeling to help others and it is hard to believe that we have been doing it as long as we have but we certainly have no intention of stopping yet.
“The NHS is a wonderful institution and served by wonderful staff and we are delighted that we can help them in their roles and help so many people at a time of real need.’’