Special awards: Mayor of Rugby thanks charities for supporting the NHS

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"I know what a massive difference the work of the Friends makes”

Charities which support the NHS have been presented with Special Appreciation Awards by the Mayor of Rugby .

The trustees of the Friends of the Hospital of St Cross and the Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes were presented with the awards by Cllr Maggie O'Rourke, who worked for the NHS for more than 40 years.

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The Friends was formed in 1955 when a group of Rugbeians formed the League of Friends to support the town's Hospital of St Cross.

The Friends of the Hospital of St Cross receive a Special Appreciation Award from the Mayor of Rugby - (left to right) Christine Nobes, Marie Guyett, Sue Phelan, Willy Goldschmidt, Cllr Maggie O'Rourke, Doug Jones, Jan Jones, Bob Tooze and Ramesh Srivastava.The Friends of the Hospital of St Cross receive a Special Appreciation Award from the Mayor of Rugby - (left to right) Christine Nobes, Marie Guyett, Sue Phelan, Willy Goldschmidt, Cllr Maggie O'Rourke, Doug Jones, Jan Jones, Bob Tooze and Ramesh Srivastava.
The Friends of the Hospital of St Cross receive a Special Appreciation Award from the Mayor of Rugby - (left to right) Christine Nobes, Marie Guyett, Sue Phelan, Willy Goldschmidt, Cllr Maggie O'Rourke, Doug Jones, Jan Jones, Bob Tooze and Ramesh Srivastava.

From small beginnings - the charity's first financial report recorded a balance of just £90 in today's money - the Friends now boasts more than 170 volunteers and has donated equipment and supported projects at St Cross to the tune of more than £4 million.

The charity's volunteers also provide a range of support services at the hospital, from hosting bingo sessions for patients and a 'meet and greet' service for visitors to running the hospital's tea bar and ward trolley service.

Cllr O'Rourke said: "St Cross has played a major role in my family. My father worked as an operating department practitioner and my mother worked in the hospital's dining room for consultants, while I worked in the pharmacy department for 22 years.

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"I know what a massive difference the work of the Friends makes at St Cross, supporting patients and staff while raising money to purchase medical equipment, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to present the trustees with a Special Appreciation Award."

Willy Goldschmidt, president of the Friends of the Hospital of St Cross, said: "It was a great honour to receive this award from Cllr O'Rourke.

"The Friends currently have more than 170 volunteers supporting the hospital. This is a great reflection of the strong connection between the community, the charity and the hospital.

"We are constantly on the look out for more volunteers as the hospital trust also recognises the benefits we deliver to staff and patients, and is keen to expand the range of services we provide."

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Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes supports hospitals across Warwickshire, Coventry and Birmingham by operating a life-saving courier service.

The charity's team of motorcyclists and support staff transport blood and other vital medical supplies to hospitals, clinics and patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.

In 2022, the Blood Bikes made 2,945 deliveries and chalked up 95,000 miles on the road, while saving the NHS more than £250,000.

Cllr O'Rourke said: "The volunteers at Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes provide an essential service, transporting blood, medicines and test samples across 650 square miles come rain or shine.

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"The charity's commitment to delivering a professional, efficient service to the NHS and the communities it serves helps save lives, and deserves all our support."

Don O'Brien, treasurer of Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes, said: "We were delighted to be recognised for our work in Rugby and throughout the wider Warwickshire region.

"Many of our riders and volunteers live in Rugby and the surrounding area, and we are incredibly proud of Rugby and St Cross Hospital.

"Recognition from key figures in the community helps to raise awareness of the Blood Bikes, which is vital to our fundraising."

For more information about Warwickshire and Solihull Blood Bikes, visit www.wsbb.org

For more information about the Friends of the Hospital of St Cross, visit www.fsx.org.uk