Meet some of our volunteers

Name:  Lauren Massey

 

What motivated you to volunteer for NHS at 70?

I volunteered for the project because I wanted to have a go at oral history as it’s an area of history I hadn’t tried before so the comprehensive training was a big motivator. As well as volunteering because I’m a staunch supporter of the NHS, I wanted to gain experience working on a public history project about healthcare to potentially help pursue a career in this area, especially mental health.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

Studying history can be a lonely pursuit but oral history is very sociable way to study history. I really enjoyed meeting interviewees who gave their time and stories so generously and eloquently as well as bonding with the project team and fellow volunteers.

Why do you think the history of the NHS is important?

I think the NHS is one of the best things about Britain so it’s important to capture as much of its history as possible, especially areas that have been neglected such as its social history.

 

Lauren Massey

 

 

Name: Gwen Crossley

 

What motivated you to volunteer for NHS at 70?

I was motivated to volunteer for NHS at 70 after hearing Stephanie (Dr Stephanie Snow) address a Regional meeting of the NHS Retirement Fellowship. I believe the NHS deserves celebrating and I realised I could help use my existing skills and gain new skills offered in training by the project team. I was also aware I had a number of contacts who might share memories. This has proven to be true.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

I enjoy the opportunity to hear some incredible life stories from wonderful people aged from 39 to 96 years. It is an immense privilege to be welcomed into the homes of complete strangers who I feel are friends at the end of the interview. It is rewarding to know that the memories of people aged in their 80's and 90's will not be lost.

Why do you think the history of the NHS is important?

NHS history is important because it helps our understanding of how society and the Health Service have changed over 70 plus years. We should never forget the difficulties that existed before the NHS with a nation largely suffering poor health and with a high infant mortality rate. From the start the NHS has responded to the ever changing needs of people. Understanding what has gone before helps to shape care today and in the future.

 

Gwen Crossley

 

 

Name: Jane Hampson

 

What motivated you to volunteer for NHS at 70?

My father came to work in the UK as a new graduate from Ireland, because he was passionate about the NHS. He had a long career as a GP in Hartlepool, and he also worked as a psychiatric assistant. My mother was diagnosed with MS when I was young, so I have had a very medical background which felt a natural fit to the project. I also love stories and storytelling, and find how people respond to the human voice intriguing.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

I have really enjoyed meeting people with fascinating experiences who want to share those with the project. It is an enormous privilege to be the person who interviews them. I have enjoyed learning about different aspects of the NHS, and gaining further insights into what can be perceived more as a social movement than a business.

Why do you think the history of the NHS is important?

I feel it is important to capture and curate these histories as it is the people who matter in the NHS. It attracts kind people, is at its best when kindness flourishes. This is important in any society.  

Watch Jane talk about her motivations for volunteering here

 

Jane Hampson

 

 

Name: Patrick Cornwell

 

What motivated you to volunteer for NHS at 70?  

A 67 year long love affair with a wonderful institution and the people who work in it and the people who built it.

What do you enjoy about volunteering? 

I love meeting people, hearing their stories and making a connection

Why do you think the history of the NHS is important?

Because it describes the story of something unique.

 

Patrick Cornwell

 

 

Name: Barbara Holt

 

What motivated you to volunteer for NHS at 70?

I wanted to volunteer for NHS at 70 as having worked as a hospital doctor I have an interest in the NHS and its history. I was also keen to learn about oral history taking and develop new skills.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

The best thing about volunteering is meeting so many different people with fascinating stories to tell.

Why do you think the history of the NHS is important?

I believe the NHS is a fantastic institution which we often fail to appreciate and deserves to have its history preserved. Clinical practice has advanced so rapidly and dramatically over the last 70 years that it is important to have a lasting record of what things used to be like particularly from people who have experienced the NHS first hand, in whatever capacity.  

 

 

 

Name: Louise Bell

 

What motivated you to volunteer for NHS at 70?

I have a huge interest in, and passion for, medical history, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity to look into our more recent history. I am also very interested in the use of oral histories in projects, but have never had the opportunity to gain skills in undertaking interviews previously. Most of the women in my family work for the NHS, so this feels like I’m doing my bit too, and helping share these important stories.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

Getting to meet so many new people is definitely a highlight – from other volunteers, to those that we are interviewing. Gaining new skills in recording oral histories and creating summaries from them is also something I am very much enjoying.

Why do you think the history of the NHS is important?

I think it’s important for us to understand how an institution that many of us now take for granted came into fruition, and learn a bit about what life was like before we had this health service. I also think it’s important in understanding how and why things work today. Understanding the past helps us understand the present, and will hopefully help shape the future of this service. I also think, in terms of this project, it is important to hear from people who have worked and lived with the NHS, and to get the stories of both those who work in it, and those who have had access to treatment through it – gaining a wide view is so important to the wider story of anything.

 

An image of NHS at 70 volunteer, Louise Bell

 

 

Name: Sarah Hudspith

 

What motivated you to volunteer for NHS at 70?

My motivation for taking part starts with my mum, Thelma (pictured), who sadly lost her life to bowel cancer when I was just 26. So although I have sad memories associated with this time and the NHS, I do know she received great care as a patient and I wanted to give something back. Volunteering for the NHS @70 project is right up my street. I love hearing people’s stories, and my background is in journalism so it’s a real privilege to carry out these interviews and help document the stories of people who dedicate their lives caring for others.

An image of Sarah, one of our volunteers

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

One thing that has surprised me while volunteering is that two of the nurses I interviewed both got into the profession after witnessing accidents. This was before they even reached their teenage years, and I think that's fascinating. Many people would be put off by the sight of blood and the emotions that witnessing such a traumatic event can spark. And then there are the people who just want to rush in and help. Everyone needs someone like that in their life!

Why do you think the history of the NHS is important?

The history of the NHS is so important. Bevan’s pioneering plan to introduce a healthcare system based on citizenship rather than payment is akin to my own values of fairness and equality. The fact it was the first free healthcare service in the world is something worth celebrating.

A photo of Sarah's Mum, Thelma