Dedicated hospital volunteers speak of joy at Best of Health Award nomination

A dedicated group of volunteers who have spent 70 years raising thousands of pounds for South Tyneside District Hospital have been recognised for their efforts with a Gazette Best of Health Award nomination.

Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 5:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th February 2019, 8:17 am
League of Friends at South Tyneside District Hospital celebrating their 70th anniversary last year. From left Dorothy Rogers and Maureen Young.

Founded in 1949, the League of Friends of South Tyneside Hospitals is one of the oldest NHS voluntary groups.It raises money through the likes of its shop in the main entrance of South Tyneside District Hospital’s Ingham Wing, to provide patients and staff with extra comforts and equipment.

The shop is open five days a week and is run by League volunteers who sell drinks and snacks, raising around £60,000 a year.

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The League has around 80 volunteers who are aged from 50s to those in their 80s.

Maureen Young, treasurer of the League, said she is delighted the volunteers have been recognised for their efforts with a nomination for a Sunderland and South Tyneside Best of Health Award.

She said: “It’s so nice to be nominated and that people think of us in that way.

“All our volunteers put a lot of hours into the shop, and it is nice for them to be recognised for the hard work that they do.

“All the money goes back into the hospital for the likes of equipment.

“The volunteers are so loyal and they all turn up to man the shop covering five shifts a day, five days a week, including one on a Saturday afternoon and two shifts on a Sunday.”

Maureen, who has been volunteering with the League for 28 years, continued: “Volunteering helps to give League members a sense of wellbeing and helps with mental health, although members come in to the shop to volunteer for all sorts of reasons.

“The League is quite a unique thing in South Tyneside and it has really grown over the years.

“We get great support from the people of South Tyneside and from the hospital.”

Now the search is on for this year’s winners.

We want you to nominate your own health heroes and here are some details of this year’s competition.


Once again the Shields Gazette and Sunderland Echo is holding the annual awards in partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust and City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

The sponsors for this year’s awards include Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), and East Coast Fitness.


The deadline for all nominations to be submitted is Friday, April 5, and the judges will meet the following week to decide on the shortlist.

The final will be held at the Roker Hotel, in Sunderland, on Thursday, May 9.


To nominate, send your name, address and phone number, as well as your email address, if applicable.

Send the name of the person you wish to nominate, along with their address, telephone number and email (if known).

Remember to include the category you are putting your nominated cause into.

And send a detailed reason as to why you think your nominated person or organisation should be chosen as the winner.

There are three ways you can nominate;

* Email those entries to [email protected] .

* Send them to Lynn Wild, Alexander House, Second Floor, Rainton Bridge Business Park, Houghton-le-Spring, Sunderland, DH4 5RA.

* Nominate online. Visit the website at


• GP or GP Practice of the Year.

• Dentist or Dental Practice of the Year.

• Pharmacist or Pharmacy of the Year.

• Hospital Doctor of the Year.

• Nurse of the Year.

• Optometrist of the Year.

• Therapist of the Year.

• Midwife of the Year.

• Care Worker of the Year.

• Customer Service/Unsung Hero of the Year.

• Community Healthcare Initiative Year.

• Healthier Lifestyle Award.

• Mental Wellbeing Award.

• Lifetime Achievement Award.