Hospital chaplaincy escorts needed in Chester 2015

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undefinedWhen you are being treated in hospital you will need help and not just of the medical variety. For those who are ill or recovering from injury, and perhaps anxious while away from home, it's good to see a friendly face offering support.

Volunteer Escorts from the Chaplaincy service provide just such assistance at the Countess of Chester Hospital – and more of them are needed just now.

The Chaplaincy service currently has 12 volunteer escorts, who chat to patients on the wards, and, where necessary, guide them on foot or by wheelchair to the 11am Sunday service in the chapel.

Being an escort is fulfilling work, says Lead Chaplain, the Revd John Kingsley, and the Assistant Chaplain, the Revd Beth Gardner. Training is given for the role.

After training, each volunteer is placed on the rota for escort duties for (usually) one Sunday per month. Escorts will receive a pass for free parking at the hospital in Liverpool Road, Chester.

One long-term volunteer is Chester-based retired engineer Bill Bath, 93, who has been a chaplaincy escort for 15 years. He said: “I feel good about the work we do as escorts. It’s a job worth doing. You realise that when you are taking the patients back to the wards. You can see that they are very happy to have been to the chapel – overjoyed some of them.”

The Revd John Kinsley, an URC minister, said: “The people we need should be sensitive, willing, friendly, caring, reliable, and team players.”

The Revd Beth Gardner, one of our retired priests, who lives in Upton, Wirral, said: “Each escort is allocated several wards on the day. They then speak to the wardl staff, requesting permission to speak to the patients. They offer to escort patients to our holy communion service at the chapel.”

The chaplaincy service is also looking for a volunteer organist – also on a rota basis – for the 11am Sunday service one or twice a month.

If you feel you would like to become a chaplaincy escort – or an organist at the hospital – then please phone John Kingsley or Beth Gardner during office hours on 01244 364543 or email john.kingsley@nhs.net or bethgardner@nhs.net

PIctured above ... the Revds John Kingsley and Beth Gardner in the chapel with veteran escort Bill Bath

Below ... volunteer escort Bill Bath – off to the wards to bring a patient to the service in the hospital chapel