UNSUNG heroes of the NHS were recognised for their dedicated services during an awards ceremony this week.

Volunteers, nurses and doctors at Great Western Hospital were among those who received NHS Hero nominations after members of the public who have been touched by their care put them forward.

The awards, launched by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley on the NHS’s 64th birthday earlier this year, were open to all staff working in the NHS.

Among the 41 people to receive nominations on Monday was volunteer Beryl Bowles.

Beryl has provided a friendly face and a listening ear to many patients on the cancer unit for the past six years, often working extra-long hours to help out.

Beryl, 78, said: “The manager of the cancer services nominated me so I was very shocked. I didn’t even realise the awards were given to volunteers.

“I really enjoy volunteering. It has made me realise that I was in the wrong profession before while I was in an office running a recruitment agency.

“I give information out to patients and I go out and talk to the patients, especially if they are on their own. Sometimes people don’t have anyone they can bring with them and it is a worrying time, so I sit and chat to them about their grandchildren, or their holidays, anything to take their mind off of it all.”

Nursing auxiliary Donna Lake also received a nomination.

She said: “I was nominated for putting others first even when it’s so stressful. It is a stressful job but I really enjoy it.

“I like meeting different people and helping families through difficult times.

“One of my patients put me forward and I was really shocked but very touched. Being modest, I just say I am doing my job.”

Both Donna and Beryl work closely together on the cancer unit.

Donna, 34, said: “Beryl is very good at her job. She is very helpful and she makes a major difference to patients and she helps us out as well as staff. If we don’t know something, we’ll always go and see Beryl.”

“The whole department is brilliant,” said Beryl.

“The patients always say to me they can’t fault the department. They are just wonderful.”