Caption: Area damaged by fire and sand lizard on affected area at Upton Heath © Simon Cripps
Caption: Mandy Preece with her award
A dedicated Macmillan Caring Locally volunteer has received the Volunteer of the Year award at the Unsung Hero Awards, the only national award for non-medical NHS staff and volunteers who go above and beyond the call of duty.
Mandy Preece, a volunteer at the Macmillan Unit based at Christchurch Hospital, collected her award at The Hilton, Deansgate in Manchester, where she was praised for her services in supporting palliative care patients and creating a unique training programme for volunteers.
Mandy has volunteered for the Macmillan Unit since 2011, starting as a companion volunteer in the Day Centre. Mandy then volunteered alongside staff within the Macmillan Unit, carrying out roles which directly enhanced patient care such as providing end of life companionship and offering support to patients’ families.
Mandy created a successful volunteer communication training program since 2013 which helps to recruit, train and retain volunteers for the Macmillan Unit, and has recently been asked to sit on a national Directors’ of Nursing Panel to give her input into volunteering within an NHS Trust.
Speaking after the awards ceremony Mandy said: “It was very humbling to receive the award, especially when you hear of all the tremendous work of other volunteers in the NHS. It is a huge privilege to be part of the NHS volunteer and staff family, and I am very grateful to Macmillan Caring Locally for their immense support in allowing me and other volunteers to shine. For me, the gift of volunteering is to be alongside somebody authentically, and to provide a sense of normality when the day-to-day can often be very upsetting and difficult to cope with. What myself and my fellows nominees are representing is that volunteers can make a big impact, and that’s something to be so proud of.”
Anita Rigler, Volunteer Project Co-Ordinator at the Macmillan Unit, and who nominated Mandy for the award said: “To have Mandy’s contribution to volunteering within the NHS acknowledged nationally is hugely important to me. She changes lives, challenges perceptions, and has transformed the unit and the approach to the way we train and retain our volunteers. It would be wonderful if Mandy’s efforts inspire others to consider volunteering so that more families can be comforted when they lose a loved one. Mandy is an inspiration to so many and I am delighted for her.”
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