WITHOUT volunteers many charity organisations cannot function.

That's why Brighter Futures is celebrating the people who have supported its work during volunteers week, which runs from June 1 to June 7.

With 392 active volunteers at the Great Western Hospital and 72 more in waiting, the charity chose to promote some of its most prolific supporters via social media. The fundraising team also helped to raise money for an awards ceremony at the Mariott Hotel on May 24 to recognise the hospital’s most dedicated volunteers.

Catherine Newman, head of fundraising at the charity, said: "We have an amazing band of volunteers. Without their help we wouldn't be able to run our events, support hospital projects and collect donations in the hospital.

"Over the course of the Radiotherapy Appeal we've had volunteers support us from organisations such as Cartus, Virgin and Nationwide to name but a few as well as lots of individuals from within the local community.

“Volunteers have bedded plants in gardens across the hospital to brighten the environment for patients. They’ve painted playrooms with colourful murals, handed out medals at events and helped to collect donations within the hospital."

Dr Jill Huby is one of the volunteers the charity has chosen to highlight this week. She began volunteering in the chaplaincy department of the hospital in 2013 after her husband John died of leukaemia. Since then she has participated in reindeer runs, a skydive and a marathon, raising around £11,000 in the process. But rather unusually for daredevil fundraisers, Jill took on her skydive shortly before her 80th birthday.

In the lead-up to her 2016 jump she said: “I want to do it in John’s memory and to raise money. I decided to work with patients as a chaplaincy volunteer because I know what it’s like.

“At the moment patients come in for chemotherapy which makes them very sick and then if they need radiotherapy they need to go to Oxford. It’s not a nice journey, they usually have to have someone with them to drive as they are too unwell.”

Catherine said: “Jill is not your typical retiree and has never been one for sitting around. She is very special to us, not just because of the amazing fundraising she has done for us, but because she has become part of our fundraising family.”

Hospital chaplain Steve Henderson said: “How do you begin to talk about Dr Jill Huby? We’ll start with elegance personified with a twinkle in her eye and rueful sense of humour. Jill brings her own unique approach to chaplaincy and has always reached out to people and importantly she has let them reach out to her.”

Last month’s awards ceremony at the Marriott Hotel was held to celebrate the work of hospital volunteers across the town. The winners, some of whom had volunteered for over 25 years, received coloured certificates depending on their length of service. Guests were also invited to tea and cake while competing against each other in a quiz.