30 years and counting…

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Published: 5th January 2017

Terry Freeman, our volunteer of 30 years at Edgware Community Hospital says she has always needed something to do apart from her domestic routine when our communications team recently sat down and met with her.

"I started working at the age of 16 and have had several jobs", Terry said. "I have worked in the fashion industry, been a rep and also worked as a secretary. At one time I even set up my own interior design business. The only time that I took a break from active working was when my children were young because I believed they needed me around then.

"After working for several years at various jobs, one day I decided that I wanted to stop working and devote my time to volunteering instead. I got in touch with the Edgware Community Hospital (ECH) as I wanted to help out in the clinics. Since then, I have held several volunteering roles at ECH but my favourite has been working at the ultrasound clinic in the old hospital.

"I had to work out the patient's appointments, figure out when they needed their next amnio, answer the phone, do the filing, send letters out to patients - it was like a proper full time job and I loved it. I like being busy and don't like sitting around doing nothing.

"The old hospital was then knocked down to build the new one you see today. I had hoped to go back to my old role in the new hospital, however, that was not possible. If I were to continue at the ultrasound clinic it would mean working in the office with no patient contact; and that was not me. So I requested to work at reception and that is where I have been for the last 10 years. It is a busy but rewarding role. People bless me as they go by and some even offer to get me a cup of coffee. Once, a mother-to-be nearly had her baby coming in through reception which caused considerable excitement.

"At reception, I have to don several hats - one of them being a diagnostic", it was at this point that Terry laughed out loud seeing the quizzical look on our faces.

She explained: "There are times when patients come along without a referral or a letter and haven't any idea where they are going, consequently making it very difficult for me to direct them. So then I have to ask what is wrong with them. I don't get too personal but I have to ask so that I can figure out where they need to go. I usually get it right."

Terry has just started her 31st year as a volunteer and we asked her what inspires her to continue. She said: "I have volunteered at several other charity organisations along with ECH over the years. I love helping people and making a difference. I would love to do more!" Even today, Terry is as enthusiastic as the day she first started which is infectious and motivating.

Interested in volunteering?

Whether it is a people facing role or helping behind the scenes, there are lots of opportunities to volunteer here, meet new people, and learn something new along the way. Get in touch with Beverly Blass (Beverly.Blass@clch.nhs.uk) for further details.

Below are some pictures from our volunteers tea party hosted by trust chair Angela Greatley to celebrate all our fabulous volunteers for their time and service here.

angela and terry

From left: Angela Greatley, chair and Terry Freeman

volunteers twitter image

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