Cumbria Crack

South Cumbria couple who dedicated their time to helping others retire after 23-years

Phyl Harrison (in the grey RVS fleece in the middle at the front) and Roy Harrison (in the beige jumper to the left of the middle) celebrate their retirement with friends and colleagues from RVS at FGH.

[S]taff, governors and volunteers have raised a teacup to local couple, Phyl and Roy Harrison, who retired from the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) shop at Furness General Hospital (FGH) after volunteering for the last 23-years.

Phyl first started volunteering in the Furness Court’s tea bar, and when that closed, she moved to support the RVS at Furness General Hospital.

Supporting the shop soon became a joint venture when her husband Roy also joined the team as a volunteer.

Phyl Harrison, who lives in Leece near Ulverston with Roy, said: “Over the past 23 years, I have done all sorts of volunteer roles and met all sorts of lovely people from all walks of life. I have found the whole team of staff and volunteers friendly, approachable, efficient and passionate about their work. I really have loved every minute of it.”

The much loved couple will be spending their retirement looking after each other and their three large greenhouses.

Formerly known as WRVS, RVS has been helping people in Britain for over 75 years. Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service in 1938, the RVS is one of the largest voluntary organisations in Britain with 35,000 men and women helping people in their homes, the community, hospitals and in emergencies.

The charity played a crucial role during the Second World War and whilst keeping the same values of community service, its focus is now on helping older people to remain independent and get more out of life. RVS also has Investing in Volunteers status in recognition of its good practice and effective volunteer management.

Barry Rigg, Community Engagement Manager, University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT), said: “On behalf of the Trust, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank both Phyl and Roy for their dedication and support. 23 years of giving up their own time to help others is an inspirational achievement and we can’t thank them enough.

“Our volunteers are a unique but integral part of the UHMBT team, and are very much appreciated by our patients, staff and visitors. Our Community Partnership Network with the RVS is continually developing, and we continue to bring people together in a variety of ways to help generate strong community links that work to make a difference within local healthcare services.”

To celebrate Phyl and Roy’s dedication to supporting staff, patients and visitors, a retirement party was held for them on Friday 1 September at FGH. Hosted by the RVS and Trust representatives, including Denis Lidstone, Non-Executive Director and Shahnaz Asghar, Public Governor, the party allowed colleagues and friends to say a huge thank you to the pair for all they have done over the last 23 years.

The couple have also been awarded the UHMBT ‘Volunteers of the Month’ for August 2017.

Sue Smith, Executive Chief Nurse, UHMBT, said: “Our volunteers are essential to the services we offer to our patients. This incredible group of people give up their valuable time to selflessly help our staff and patients, and this is something we should all applaud.

“To think that Phyl and Roy have dedicated nearly a quarter of century to helping others is absolutely amazing, and we can’t thank them enough. We wish them all the best for a relaxing retirement – they’ve certainly earned it!”

Developing links with the community remains a priority for UHMBT and over the next 12 months, it will continue to focus on supporting its community voluntary partners to be involved in mutually beneficial partnerships by:

  • Connecting up with each other
  • Combining experience for the best benefit
  • Creating and sharing good practice, resources, tips and ideas
  • Organising engagement activities that help all organisations to improve patient experience

If you are interested in volunteering at the Trust, there are lots of opportunities available. For more information or to sign up, please email the Volunteer team on [email protected] or call 01539715288.

For more information on the RVS, please visit the charity’s website at:

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