A MOTHER who tragically lost her son to cancer returned to volunteering in a hospital to help her heal.

Moira Bateman is one of more than 200 volunteers across the Mid and South Essex Hospitals’ Trust, having recently returned to help at Southend Hospital following the lockdowns of the past year.

The 72-year-old said her work has been a “lifeline” and helped her “focus on other things” after she lost her youngest son Tim last year at the age of 43.

She has been a volunteer at the hospital for almost 20 years, returning to volunteering in her role as an information desk volunteer in the main Tower Block outpatients.

It has enabled her to meet up with some of her fellow volunteers.

Ms Bateman said: “It gives me a chance to focus on other things and to get out of the house. I have always felt I want to give something back.

“Lockdown, particularly the last one, was awful because of the weather. Christmas was horrendous because Tim had died in September. But the volunteering is helping.”

Help - Michael Greenhow of Aveley volunteers at Basildon Hospital

Help - Michael Greenhow of Aveley volunteers at Basildon Hospital

The trust is celebrating the work of its volunteers for national Volunteers’ Week which runs until Monday.

Many were unable to continue volunteering at the height of the pandemic, but with hospitals returning to their regular service, that has meant a welcome return to the friendly and helpful volunteers.

This also includes Michael Greenhow, 76, from Aveley, has been volunteering at Basildon Hospital since 2013, and in 2016 was the recipient of the hospital’s Volunteer of the Year award.

He wanted to give back to the hospital who cared for his wife Connie after suffering a stroke until her death in 2013.

Mr Greenhow said: “The hospital did so much for my wife and this is my way of repaying them. I have the time and I give it to the hospital, as I think it is important and I believe volunteers can be play a valuable role in hospitals.

“I enjoy talking to people, I enjoy the company and I enjoy having a purpose to get up for in the morning.”

Jane O’Connell, volunteers’ manager for the trust, said: “We’ve such a lovely group of volunteers, and they are making a huge positive difference, for both patients and staff.

“They are real lifeblood across our hospitals and bring so much energy and passion to their roles. It’s wonderful to have so many of them back.”