Hospice volunteer is runner-up for prestigious award

Long-serving volunteer is runner-up for High Sheriff Award.

Sheila Stokes has been a volunteer at St Elizabeth Hospice for over 20 years, and after being presented with a long service award last year has now been named runner-up for the High Sherriff Suffolk Volunteer of the Year Award 2012.

Mrs Stokes attended the High Sheriff Award ceremony on Thursday 8th March at St Edmundsbury Cathedral, where she was presented with a Highly Commended certificate for being a runner up.

Mrs Stokes, who is now 74, cried when she found out she had been shortlisted for the award in February. She said: “I couldn’t believe I had been nominated in the first place, it was such a surprise. I would like to thank all those involved in nominating me, it was a privilege to be one of three shortlisted out of 27 nominees. I feel I have received this honour on behalf of all the volunteers at the Hospice.

“It was a lovely evening which I enjoyed immensely. St Elizabeth Hospice was well and truly put in the spotlight and stood out proud among all the other organisations represented.”

Mrs Stokes has given up her spare time for the last two decades to help on reception at the Hospice in Foxhall Road Ipswich, and to single-handedly run the patients’ library service despite her husband dying a year into her service.

When asked what Shelia gains from volunteering she replied with a smile “I enjoy helping people, being part of a team, seeing the patients and chatting to them through my librarian role. I have known the pain of losing a loved one and appreciate how the visitors feel as well.”

Sue Tunaley, Executive Assistant at St Elizabeth Hospice, nominated Mrs Stokes. She said: “Our volunteer receptionists are often the first contact visitors and patients have with the Hospice and Sheila always acts in a professional but sensitive manner, helping to put people at their ease in often very difficult situations. I had no hesitation in recommending that Sheila be considered for the High Sheriff’s Volunteer of the Year Award.”

Another St Elizabeth Hospice volunteer who was nominated for a High Sheriff award was Katie Cowling. She was put forward for Young Volunteer of the Year but was unfortunately unsuccessful due to the high standard of nominee applications. Miss Cowling is a volunteer in the Hospice’s Creating Memories group which offers patients and family members a safe and supportive therapeutic environment to participate in memory work.

The High Sheriff’s Suffolk Volunteer of the Year Award encourages voluntary organisations, charities and community groups across Suffolk to nominate one of their volunteers for special recognition of services above and beyond the ‘call of duty’.  The award consists of a trophy for the winning volunteer and a cash award for his or her voluntary organisation, charity or community group.

The Hospice has around 1,000 volunteers whose help is vital. To find out more about volunteering and current vacancies click here.



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