A volunteer at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) is celebrating her 90th birthday today.
Wendy Russell has become a much-loved and familiar face at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC), where she has greeted visitors and patients on Main Reception for 23 years. Wendy currently volunteers for two mornings a week and has been helping guests find their way since 1996.
Wendy, who turns 90 on March 25, said: “I’m quite privileged to do it at my ripe old age. It’s nice to wake up in the morning with something to do. It keeps me out of trouble and off the streets!”
Born in Nottingham in 1929, Wendy began volunteering at QMC after a couple of years teaching in Thailand following her retirement.
Wendy said: “I was a teacher in Special Education in Nottingham, where I worked until retiring aged sixty. I became bored after that, so I applied to the Voluntary Services and went to Thailand with them for two years, which was very rewarding at times. Then I came back home and I was bored again, so I phoned QMC to see if they had any little jobs to do, and I’ve stayed here ever since.”
Wendy is a hard-working member of the volunteer team and is still keen to help others as she reaches the age of 90, particularly when those visiting the hospital are in need of directions: “It’s very easy to get lost here and people do, so I help to take them where they need to go.”
Kerry Harper, Voluntary Services Manager, said: “The contribution made to our visitors, patients and staff by Wendy over the years has been immense, without her ever expecting reward or favour. Wendy is a truly inspirational character and a valued member of our hospital and volunteer team.
“Wendy has a cheerful smile for everybody and always shows courtesy towards patients, visitors and staff. She will often also go above and beyond her duties on main reception, helping to escort patients to clinical locations and offering assistance where needed.”
Samantha Felstead, Receptionist, said: “Wendy is fantastic; I really enjoy working with her. You wouldn’t think she’s 90-years-old at all, she’s energetic, enthusiastic and she still wants to keep learning. She’s very sociable and she has lots of friends.
“She’s lovely to all of the patients and they love her. Wendy is the sort of person that you’d want to help you when you’re not well.”
Yvonne Key, Main Reception Supervisor, said: “She’s brilliant and excellent at what she does. She’s approachable and a pleasure to work with. Wendy is a great friend to staff past and present; she’s like family.
“All of the volunteers on Main Reception go over and above, they really are brilliant. Wendy will always go out of her way to help. If anyone’s struggling to get where they need to be, she’ll happily take them, whether that be to a ward or to the Chapel of Rest.”
Wendy is a great-grandmother and besides volunteering, one of her favourite past times is travelling. She spent part of last year in both Morocco and Malaga with family and has recently returned from a trip to Wales.
Wendy will be spending her birthday at home with family and friends before a celebration with her loved ones in Nottingham on March 30.