Candy Baker praises hospital volunteers

A WOMAN described as a real character and go-getter was the guest speaker at Honiton Hospital League of Friends annual meeting.

A WOMAN described as "a real character and go-getter" was the guest speaker at Honiton Hospital League of Friends' annual meeting.

Candy Baker, of Cornwall, is the regional chairman of Attend.

She told the meeting she was a member of her local hospital's appeals committee at the tender age of 13.

"I went into the nursing profession and, all my life, I have been volunteering in one way or another."

Mrs Baker, now a pensioner, paid tribute to all those who volunteer in local hospitals, not just those who win awards.

She thanked Anne McPhail for her long service to Honiton Community Hospital. Anne was recently presented with a Diamond Award by Attend, a national umbrella organisation for leagues of friends.

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But Mrs Baker went on to say some people, who perhaps should have received an award, for some reason or another were overlooked.

She cited the case of Gwen Crowle, who has been a volunteer at the hospital for 27 years as a receptionist in the chiropody department.

In addition, Gwen spent 19 years weighing and befriending newborn babies at the hospital.

"She is always friendly and much-loved by patients and staff," said Mrs Baker.

The biggest challenge facing hospital leagues of friends is recruitment of younger volunteers, the meeting heard.

Mrs Baker said: "How to we get younger people involved? It is of great concern to me."

She went on to explain how she is working with college students in a bid to spawn a new generation of volunteers.

Mrs Baker went on to inform the league that funding is available where volunteers are offering their services where palliative care is being offered to patients.

She was thanked by Dr Jeremy Gibson, who said: "Your enthusiasm has fired us up."

Dr Gibson said enthusiasm was "key" at a time when cutbacks are in the pipeline.