The Friends Long Service Awards - 12th October 2023

At the hybrid Committee Meeting on Wednesday September 6th 2023, it was agreed that those who had served the Friends as volunteers over many years, through their personal commitment and by maintaining the ‘trolley service’, should be formally recognised by the Award of Long Service Certificates.

The unique contribution of the trolley volunteers to the welfare & recovery of those in hospital has not always been appreciated. These amazing people are all rooted in the community of East London and they know its strengths and its weaknesses and so they are uniquely equipped to communicate with our hospitalised patients. The

‘Vollies’ take handy items and treats to the bedside and offer comforting words & compassion to some very anxious and lonely people. With increasingly busy staff & so many patients located in single wards they provide a unique link between the patient and the institution.  Over the years they have not only given thousands of hours of their time to the Friends but they have also offered a sympathetic listening ear to thousands of patients. We know that their regular presence is greatly appreciated by patients and staff alike. We know too that in our modern ‘high-tec’ hospital, patients worry just as much and possibly more than in the past. The old proverb ‘a burden shared is a burden halved’ was never truer than now.

Five people were eligible for the FLS Award. In alphabetical order they were, Mavis Bullwinkle, Honor Cousens, Stephen Harris, Stan Padmore & Christine Winterflood. The first three are members of the Friends & latter two are Barts Health Volunteers. Cumulatively, they have served the hospital for more years than the NHS had been in existence!

On 12th October 2023 three recipients were able to attend the presentation in person. Unfortunately Mavis Bullwinkle, who had conscientiously & diligently provided office and secretarial support for more than 30 years, was away and Stan Padmore could not be contacted in time. The Friends intend to present their awards at a later date.

The Award Ceremony was combined with a recital devoted to the memory of Edith Cavell. It was given by Mr Alan Jolly who was ably assisted by his ‘page turner’, Conrad. The day’s formalities started with the Friends greeting the RLH Nurses who had returned, in their traditional uniforms and cloaks, from the Annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Cavell Memorial in St Martin’s place. The President welcomed them and gave a brief summary of Edith Cavell’s continuing importance. Alan then played and sang ‘Abide with me’, Edith Cavell’s favourite hymn. Tosh Denholm, Outpatient Senior Sister, who had organised the Royal London Hospital Wreath, gave an account of the elegant Norman Hartnell uniforms and headpieces the nurses were wearing. In appreciation of her continuing commitment to the wreath laying ceremony, Tosh was presented with a bouquet.

 The Long Service Awards followed. The President summarised the contribution of the trolley service and of each recipient to the welfare of hospital and thanked them individually for what they had achieved. The Awards were then presented by the Friends Co-Chair, Miss Judith Walker MBE.

The Award citation reads; LONG SERVICE AWARD given to .................... in recognition of their Enduring Dedication to the aims and objectives of the Friends of the Royal London Hospital’.

Afterwards, the Friends, their colleagues and the hospital patients who had assembled in the Foyer, had time together to talk and to reminisce while taking tea. Meanwhile Alan Jolly continued to play an enjoyable selection of music which enhanced a most congenial event.

My grateful thanks to Jeflyn Musariri & Megan Popplewell, members of the Royal London Hospital Nursing staff for joining us so graciously and for modelling the uniforms; to Alan Jolly for the music and to Richard Gardner & Shree Laturia who assisted with the arrangements and providing the photograph.


Prof Trevor Beedham. President. 12th October 2023

       Christine Winterflood  Trevor Beedham  Steve Harris  Judith Walker  Honor Cousens