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Celebrating Volunteers' Week

01 June 2021


Tuesday 1, to Monday 7 June is Volunteers’ Week and we’ll be joining other organisations across the country to celebrate the difference our volunteers make and to thank them for their time and dedication.

The past year has been difficult for some of our volunteers, as restrictions meant they had to shield and could no longer come in. We have missed them and appreciate all their work in the past and their ongoing support for our hospital.

For others it has meant a new opportunity to volunteer, after redundancy or furlough opened up new options, including the chance to support the huge NHS Covid-19 vaccination effort.

And in some cases our volunteers have continued to come in throughout the pandemic, providing vital assistance to our staff and our patients and their families.

We are grateful to everyone who has volunteered with us in the past and the present – our teams are stronger and better for the support you provide and our patients benefit from your kindness and patience.

During the week we will be highlighting a few of our volunteers.

Kelly and Mike

Volunteers Week 2021 - Volunteers Mike and Kelly and our volunteer co-ordinator John stand in our main foyer, with a notice board behind them

Kelly Twiggs from Lowestoft started as a volunteer with us 18 months ago. With experience of caring for her grandparents, including her grandad who had Parkinsons, she chose to put her skills to use volunteering on our front desk and is now in two or three times a week assisting our receptionists with enquiries and a variety of other tasks.

She says; “I really like volunteering. It’s a friendly team and I like being able to help people. Things have changed a lot with Covid. With visiting restricted, much of our work was delivering items that had been dropped off by relatives and friends for patients.”

One of her volunteer colleagues Mike Keller has been a volunteer at the James Paget for six years after moving to the area from Luton.

Mike says; “I used to volunteer at Luton & Dunstable hospital so when we moved to Caister, once we’d got settled in, it seemed like a natural thing to do to volunteer at the James Paget. You meet different people all the time and no two days are the same. While taking bags from reception to the wards has been a big part of our role in recent months we know this has been an important link between patients and their families.”

Both Kelly and Mike (pictured with John, our volunteer co-ordinator) have also been assisting as volunteers in our Covid vaccination hub, in the Louise Hamilton Centre, providing a friendly welcome and assistance where required.


This week is Volunteers’ Week and we’re joining other organisations across the country to celebrate the difference our volunteers make and to thank them for their time and dedication.

John Gilligan was recently appointed as our new Volunteer Co-Ordinator, after his previous experience as our Butterfly Volunteer Co-ordinator and in clinical education. He has seen first-hand how many people have stepped up to support the hospital when many of our regular volunteers had to shield.

“We recognise how difficult it has been for many of our volunteers – and some of our staff - to have to step away from the hospital environment because of the pandemic.  With a reduction in the number of visitors coming into the hospital this in some ways has balanced itself but we also grateful to those who have stayed throughout the pandemic and those who have joined us.”

Mark and David

Volunteers David and Mark, both wearing red volunteer polo-style shirts and black trousers, and our volunteer co-ordinator John, stand next to our main reception desk

Mark Woods, from Gorleston, joined the James Paget as a volunteer six months ago. He wanted to do something to help others during the pandemic and decided he would volunteer at the hospital. After volunteering with our stores team he applied for a job and is now working in our medical engineering team.

David Gibson-Brown, from Bradwell, joined us after it was suggested he might like to volunteer at the hospital. He decided to do it and signed up in January. Initially working in our Linen Room to assist while some of our team were shielding, he’s now joined our front desk team.

Andrea and Julie 

Volunteers Andrea and Julie, stand behind our main reception Volunteers desk, while volunteer co-ordinator John stands in front of the desk, closer to the camera

It’s Volunteers’ Week and we’re celebrating the difference our volunteers make and thanking them for their time and dedication.

Today we’d like to introduce Andrea and Julie – two faces you may recognise from either our front desk or our vaccine hub.

During the pandemic our volunteers have been supporting our staff and our patients. While those who have been able to come into the hospital have often seen their roles change due to restrictions in some areas and changes to visiting, they have been carrying out some crucial functions in teams such as stores and our Linen Room, and have been instrumental in ensuring items left at reception for patients, such as clothing and toiletries, have been delivered to our wards.

Volunteers have also been key in our vaccination hub in the Louise Hamilton Centre

With a history as a dental nurse at a practice in Acle Andrea Williams felt she needed to do something after she retired. Her dad was a volunteer at a hospital in the north east and she decided to follow in his footsteps, so she got in touch with the James Paget. Two-and-a half years later she continues to support our team.  

The grandma from Caister used to assist our maternity unit and, like Julie Bonnamy, from Lowestoft, who has been volunteering at the James Paget for 18 months, she is currently volunteering on both our front desk and in our Covid-19 vaccination hub.

While Covid has meant some changes, both Andrea and Julie say they love being volunteers and helping our patients, visitors and our staff.

Sue and Geoff

Volunteers Sue and Geoff, Sue wearring a red tabard over her clothing and Geoff in a red polo shirt, and volunteer co-ordinator John, stand in front of a beige wall.

As we continue to celebrate Volunteers’ Week we’re saying a big thank you to all our volunteers, past and present, and highlighting a few of our team.

Husband and wife Sue and Geoff Wood, from Lowestoft, volunteer with us on Mondays and Thursdays – on Monday they assist in our vaccination hub in the Louise Hamilton Centre, while on Thursdays they assist on our front desk.

Both joined as volunteers at the same time in 2019 and pre-pandemic they used to visit our wards to talk to our patients about the Friends & Family test. They initially were away for three months at the start of the pandemic but returned in June and began helping at the front desk, taking belongings dropped off by families and friends to patients on our wards.

Geoff says; “There was a different flow to it, with Covid precautions in place and fewer visitors and we were making sure people were wearing masks and using hand sanitiser. The vast majority people have been great. We also did a lot of walking around the hospital delivering items to the wards for patients. One day I had a step counter on and I walked the equivalent of four-and-a-half-miles!”

When the first Covid-19 vaccination was cleared for use, Sue and Geoff were among the first volunteers to work in our centre, that was initially based in our Physiotherapy Gym, before moving to the Louise Hamilton Centre.

Sue said; “It has been a really privilege to be part of something so important – a part of history. I worked in a school previously and I volunteered to work at the hospital when I retired as I didn’t want to completely retire, but I never imagined that we would be part of something like this.”

Geoff said; “In the early days there was a great atmosphere like a social club when older residents were coming in. It was the first time they’d been out in many cases, and often we would have communities from certain areas in on certain days so people knew each other and hadn’t seen each other for some time."

Sue said; “Working in the vaccine centre has been great – to see the reactions and relief the vaccine has brought to people. Volunteering is very rewarding and this part of it has been particularly special.”