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New Award Recognises Valuable Contribution of Hospital Porters

Date:        Friday, April 22, 2005
Venue:      Time Out Restaurant, West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds
Time:        2.30pm

A West Suffolk Hospital porter will be awarded the Michael Williams shield for his work at the Bury St Edmunds hospital on Friday (April 22).

The Michael Williams Shield is a new and unique award that recognises the valuable contribution porters make to West Suffolk Hospital.

Michael Williams, from Barningham, was a porter at the hospital for ten years. He left the hospital in March 2004 because of health problems and died in August 2004 after a two-year illness.

His wife Lesley, a nurse and former Director of Nurse Education at West Suffolk Hospital, and the couple¹s two daughters wanted to commemorate his life and his work at the hospital.

They decided on an annual award in his memory that will be presented on Friday (April 22) on what would have been Michael's 63rd birthday.

Mrs Williams, who is a volunteer at West Suffolk Hospital, said: "My husband was a porter at West Suffolk Hospital for ten years and he enjoyed his work very much. During his illness my husband¹s fellow porters were more than good to him both as a colleague and as a patient.

"Porters are the rock of the hospital and very often seen as the Cinderella. They need to be valued and be seen to be valued.

"During my career as a nurse I have had very good experiences with the porters in every hospital I have worked. My husband was a very cheerful man who took pleasure in being able to cheer up patients and make them laugh. He would go above and beyond his normal duties. He was a former policeman who wanted to be a porter when he retired. There are at least three porters at the hospital now who are former policeman and Michael paved the way for this to be a good career change.

"I hope that this award will go some way towards recognising the huge contribution porters make to the life of the hospital."

Mr Williams’ family will present the first Michael Williams Shield at a presentation at the hospital's staff restaurant Time Out .

The winner will receive the inscribed shield and a cheque for £125.

Veronica Worrall, Chairman of the West Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust, said: "Porters carry out an extremely important job within the hospital and although one porter will be singled out to receive the Michael Williams Shield this year, we are enormously proud of all our porters.

"On behalf of everyone at the hospital I would like to thank the porters for their excellent work. It is fitting that this award is named after the well-loved and much respected porter Michael Williams who worked for West Suffolk Hospital for ten years."

22 April 2005



West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust