Southend Hospital volunteers were awarded for their dedication and long service at the fifth Volunteer Achievement Awards.

The awards ceremony, held during national volunteering week, was combined with a party for all volunteers, which was held at the Saxon Hall, Aviation Way, Southend.

It was a chance for those who give up their time to help for free to be recognised for the incredible work they do.

Dozens of volunteers enjoyed a welcome drink and a slap-up tea of scones, sandwiches and cake.

Among those attending was hospital chairman Alan Tobias and managing director Yvonne Blucher who both handed out the awards during the evening.

Paying tribute to the hospital’s 450 volunteers, Mr Tobias said: “Thank you for all you do. Your dedication and selflessness helps improve the hospital experience for patients, their families and staff.”

Two of those award winners were Marjorie Hockley, 84 from Westcliff and Jean Cutler, 71 from Wakering.

The duo won the lifetime achievement award for 38 years of combined service.

Marjorie and Jean have been close friends for more than 45 years.

Their husbands were work colleagues and it was due to their interest in the spiky cacti that the friendship started. The event was held on Thursday June 7.