The Friends of St Cross and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust Festive Befriending Initiative has been hailed as a success by patients, staff and volunteers from across the community.

Some 50 people including the Mayor of Rugby came to the hospital on a total of 136 occasions and probably attended 300 patient bedsides over the 10 days between 21st December and 1st January.

The Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Bill Lewis, said: “The Friends of St Cross have invited the Mayoress and I to the hospital on a number of occasions to find out more about the charity’s work.

“From funding equipment to running vital support services, the charity’s volunteers and supporters make a tremendous contribution to St Cross, and we were both delighted to support the Festive Befriending Initiative and visit patients who were in hospital over the Christmas holidays.”

Willy Goldschmidt, Chairman of the Friends of St Cross, said “This was the third time that we reached out to the community to help cheer up patients who were unfortunately in hospital over the Festive Season and I must say the response and feedback was excellent.”

One of the volunteers, Liz, wrote to say “I had the time of my life, it was my best Christmas ever! I met some lovely people and heard some wonderful stories” and another volunteer, Eleanor, wrote “I can't really do justice to how much I enjoyed listening to patients talk about their lives and past experiences. In short, an absolute pleasure.”

Willy continued by saying “This feedback echoes the spirit of the volunteering that flows through the Friends team. We welcome volunteers from all walks of life who reinforce the connection between the community, the hospital and the Charity!”

Janine Beddow, Site Manager at the Hospital of St Cross said “Thank you to the Friends for organising this initiative and for all the support the volunteers deliver throughout the year”

To find out more about volunteering opportunities with the Friends look at


Photo: Courtesy of the Mayor of Rugby L-R Clinical Sister Nigar Safir, Cedar Ward, Modern Matron Judith Lewis, The Mayor of Rugby, Cllr Bill Lewis, Mrs Sue Lewis