Hospital trust celebrates army of kind-hearted volunteers

BRADFORD hospitals’ selfless and kind-hearted volunteers have been honoured for their unstinting devotion and service.

A special ceremony to honour 63 volunteers from Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust was held at Bradford City Football Club.

The Trust has a dedicated army of more than 450 volunteers working across its hospitals, which include Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, with each of them giving between two and four hours of their time per week. This equates to 1,350 hours per week or more than a staggering 70,000 hours per year – every minute given generously to improve the experience of patients.

The ceremony was an opportunity to thank many of them for their long service. Certificates and commemorative plaques were presented to 42 volunteers, who had given between five and 35 years’ service to volunteering, adding up to an incredible 445 years in total.

In 2019, 12 student volunteers collectively gave the Trust 600 hours of their time. They were all thanked and presented with commemorative certificates for individually clocking up either 50 hours of volunteering.

And the highlight of the evening was the crowning of the ‘Volunteer of the Year 2019.’

Certificates were presented by the Trust’s Chief Executive, Mel Pickup, and Chairman, Max Mclean, and the judges for The ‘Volunteer of the Year’ Award were Dementia Lead, Roshanne Fox; Speciality Medicine Matron, Rukeya Miah and Patient Experience Officer, George Reynolds.

This year, 10 volunteers were nominated for the top prize and after a very tough job, Mary Gilmartin, a Chaplaincy Visitor at Bradford Royal Infirmary, who was nominated by three individual members of staff, was crowned ‘Volunteer of the Year 2019.’


Mary began volunteering at the hospital 21 years ago, after retiring from her post there in anaesthetics administration. She was nominated for “always being passionate about her role, always having a smile on her face and being sincere,” as well as for “being an invaluable part of the team, dedicated and supportive” and “making a real difference to patients and staff.”

An overwhelmed Mary said: “It’s an absolute pleasure being able to come into hospital and be with people. I especially like supporting elderly patients, who may not have any other visitors coming to see them. We have a chat about the things that mean something to them. I like to think that my role makes patients feel that they matter.

“I am shocked to have been chosen and absolutely chuffed to bits. My family will be thrilled for me because they know how much my volunteering means to me.”

Runner-up this year was David Oswald, a guide at BRI, nominated because “he always has a smile and is happy to help, providing the best patient and visitor experience.”

David was also praised for his mentoring of new volunteers, helping out with events often at short notice and his “positive attitude.”

In third place was Franklin Mears, a Patient Support volunteer at BRI. His citation read: “He connects with staff and helps out in any way he can. He has a full time job but still finds time to volunteer. He is a true credit to the Voluntary Services team at BRI.”

Chaplaincy volunteer and great-grandmother of two, Jennifer House, 75, received a 30 Years’ Service Award.

Jennifer, of Idle, said: “It’s a privilege to be able to visit people in hospital and I am honoured to receive the award. I love the work that I do and enjoy meeting the patients. I visit the Renal wards and the day case wards at St Luke’s Hospital.

Make friends

“Some people want to talk and some people don’t. I make friends with them whatever their religion or beliefs and have got some patients that I see regularly now.”

Jennifer volunteers at St Luke’s Hospital every Thursday morning, without fail, for two-to-three hours and has no plans to retire any time soon.

“I want to keep going as long as I can,” she added. “I get a lot out of it. I talk to anyone and have made friends with a lot of people from different communities. The chaplains at the Trust are so positive and helpful too.”

Also nominated were: Margaret Bass, Fund Raising; Vinod Chawla, Patient Support, BRI; Patricia Crompton, Tea Bar, BRI; Jennifer House, Chaplaincy; Ruth Kerr, Chaplaincy; Denise Laycock, Tea Bar, BRI and Shelley Marshall, Chaplaincy.

Chief Executive, Mel Pickup, said: “This special ceremony is to celebrate the dedication and compassion of our volunteers, and it’s an honour to be with so many people, who give their time so generously.

“We are extremely grateful to our volunteers, who as well as supporting staff, patients and visitors, are also busy raising funds for our hospitals. A few fantastic examples of this fundraising during 2019 are £37,318 to buy two digital oral scanners for our Maxillofacial department, £6,000 to buy a therapy bike for the Physiotherapy department, £10,000 to refresh physiotherapy cubicles and £1,600 for four wheelchairs in our Orthopaedic Outpatients department.

“As well as fundraising, 2019 has seen the introduction of a ‘Pets as Therapy’ (PAT) dog on our children’s wards, our two hospital radio stations, Radio Royal at BRI and St Luke’s sound, celebrated 67 and 40 years of broadcasting respectively, and it has also been an incredibly busy year for our 62 Chaplaincy volunteers, who have made almost 30,000 contacts, offering comfort, support and compassion to patients, relatives, friends and staff.”

Mel added that the volunteer tea bar teams had also been busy, making 48,000 slices of toast and 68,000 cups of tea and coffee!

“Our wonderful team of volunteers plays an integral and invaluable role in helping to improve the experience of our patients.”

Those receiving certificates for long service were:

  • For 35 years’ service: Chris Pickles, St Luke’s Sound
  • For 30 years’ service: Jennifer House, Chaplaincy Visitor
  • For 25 years’ service: Wesley Stakes, St Luke’s Sound
  • For 20 years’ service: Kath Luczyn, Tea Bar, BRI; Pauline Robinson, Tea Bar, St Luke’s Hospital
  • For 15 years’ service: Patricia Crompton, Tea Bar, St Luke’s Hospital; Jennifer Smith, Tea Bar, BRI; Jane Tarver, Chaplaincy Visitor; Philip Cropper, BRI Guide; Hasu Patel, BRI Guide
  • For 10 years’ service: Michael Gray, BRI Guide; Mary Hallett, Tea Bar, BRI; Denise Laycock, Tea Bar, BRI; Alan Pinfield, BRI Guide; Christopher Fisher, Radio Royal, BRI; Susan Faulding, Tea Bar, St Luke’s Hospital; Christine Gaunt, Tea Bar, St Luke’s Hospital; Karen Jarzecki, Tea Bar, St Luke’s Hospital; Diane Greenwood, Chaplaincy Visitor; David Hedley, Chaplaincy Visitor; Teresa Warzylewicz, Chaplaincy Visitor
  • For 5 years’ service: Brenda Leahy, Tea Bar, BRI; Mikiah Maseko, Patient Support, BRI; Mohsin Shah, BRI Guide; Patricia Simpson, Tea Bar, BRI; Wendy Wilson, Patient Support, BRI; Robert Rowell, St Luke’s Hospital Guide; John Winter, Chaplaincy Visitor; Jyotika Almas, Tea Bar, BRI; Anne Field, Patient Support, BRI; Jennifer Kennedy, Patient Support, BRI; Christine Kenney, Tea Bar, BRI; Dermot Mahoney, Ward Trolley, BRI; Dawn McEntee, Toy Library, St Luke’s Hospital; David Mickleboro, St Luke’s Sound; James Murray, Cancer Support, BRI; Frances Seckleman, Chaplaincy Visitor

In 2019, 19 student volunteers who each gave 50 hours’ of their time, and were presented with certificates were: Aiysah Arshad, Maryam Bibi, Atheem Hussain, Jamilah Islam, Aqsaa Ahmed, Khalid Ahmed, Khayrul Choudhury, Adam Farooq, Roshni Hussain, Aishah Iqbal, Rumaysa Naeem, and Sobia Pervaiz.

 Anyone interested in volunteering, can ring 01274 364309/382860 or visit the Trust’s website

Picture caption: Volunteer of the Year 2019 (L-R), Franklin Mears (3rd), Mary Gilmartin (1st), David Oswald (2nd)



For further media information, please contact Senior Communications Officer, Virginia Mason (01274 382265) or Communications Manager, Sarah Smith (01274 383901)

Email:  or


Note to Editors:


  1. Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust:

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is responsible for providing hospital services for the people of Bradford and communities across Yorkshire. We serve a core population of around 500,000 and provide specialist services for 1.1 million people.

Our 5,500 staff work over several sites, including Bradford Royal Infirmary, which provides the majority of inpatient services, and St Luke’s Hospital, which predominantly provides outpatient and rehabilitation services. We also manage local community hospitals at Westwood Park, Westbourne Green, and Eccleshill.

In early 2017, a new £28 million wing opened at Bradford Royal Infirmary, part of a £75m investment to improve patient care across our hospitals over a five-year period. It provides world-class facilities for elderly care, children’s services, a state-of-the-art intensive care unit with increased single-room provision and a retail concourse.

The new wing is a continuation of our work to improve patient experience after our new £2 million neonatal unit officially opened in January 2015. Our maternity services were recently shortlisted for the Royal College of Midwives’ (RCM) Midwifery Service of the Year Award, recognising excellence and innovation in the provision of maternity care.

In 2017, we also completed a £2m refurbishment of our Emergency Department (ED) as part of an ambitious vision to create a more efficient acute medicine service for the people of Bradford. It has been designed to provide a slicker and more efficient service, with faster senior clinical involvement at an early stage in the patient pathway.

As a teaching hospital, we are at the forefront of education and development in healthcare, and have an excellent reputation for research performance. We are one of the leading centres in conducting applied research in the country, particularly in quality and safety, elderly care and rehabilitation.

The Trust is home to the Bradford Institute for Health Research (BIHR) where researchers have led the development, validation and implementation of the award-winning Bradford Electronic Frailty Index (eFI) which helps calculate an elderly person’s risk of disability, impairment, falls and complications of chronic diseases, as well as their diminishing independence and capability. This is now being used by 98 per cent of all GPs across the country.

Our award-winning Ophthalmology department is home to numerous worldwide clinical trials taking the lead in eye care research and we are one of only three sites in the United Kingdom to be enlisted in the Perioperative Enhanced Recovery Hip Fracture Care of Patients with Dementia (PERFECTED) study, which will investigate how the NHS can introduce better standards of care to improve outcomes for people with dementia.

Follow us on Twitter: @BTHFT

The Trust has its own Bradford Hospitals Charity: