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Formerly: St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

Hospital volunteers are true “diamonds’’

Two dedicated volunteers from the Lilac Centre at St Helens Hospital say they were honoured to be recognised at a recent awards ceremony.

Dave Turner and Tom Walsh both received the Unsung Hero Award at the Sam’s Diamonds Cancer Support charity event recently.

The pair were nominated for the award for the work they do to ensure patients and visitors to the unit, which provides care for people with cancer, are looked after during their visits by handing out drinks and biscuits and offering a friendly face and welcoming words.

Dave, 69, is a former cancer patient himself who wanted to give the NHS something back when he retired.

He said: “I had cancer myself and received such great care that I wanted to help others who were going through what I went through and have been volunteering here now for a few years.

“It’s actually the best job I have ever had, and I don’t get paid for it. I do three days a week and absolutely love it.’’

Talking about his award he said: “The fact it was the patients who nominated us means the world to me. We don’t do this for awards, but to be recognised for what you do by others is wonderful.’’

Tom, 75, also has a special reason for volunteering at the Lilac Centre.

He said: “My wife Susan died from cancer in 2009 and was a patient here.

“She received such great care that I also wanted to give something back. I have been volunteering for about 14 years and I definitely get more back than I give.

“I really enjoy talking to the patients and taking their mind off their treatment when they are here.

“To be nominated for the award was great but to win it was the icing on the cake.’’

Victoria Kilshaw, Lilac Centre Unit Manager, said: “Dave and Tom provide an amazing service to our patients.

“They always have a smile on their faces and do everything they can to make sure everyone is comfortable and looked after while they are here.

“All the staff love them, and we were all thrilled when they won their awards.’’