Hospital volunteer, 85, calls it a day after more than 5,500 donations

Credit: Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

A cancer survivor and volunteer has made her final donation after providing patients across Northumberland with essential supplies for years.

Ann Dunn, 85 from Stakeford, makes toiletry packs for patients staying at Wansbeck General Hospital and Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington.

Over the years she has donated more than 5,500 packs containing toiletries like toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo and shaving equipment for patients who have been admitted to hospital at short notice and perhaps don’t have any relatives to help out.

Ann first made up packs with her local Women’s Institute group, but decided to carry on solo, inspired by her own personal experience.

She said: “My whole family has had cancer, including me.

“I lost my husband to pancreatic cancer in 1987 and both my daughters had breast cancer in 2013, so this is my way of saying thanks for the care we received.

“Many people must have had one of my packs and I have had people in church come up to me and say that they had one of the bags, which always made me happy.

“I have really enjoyed doing it, but I decided that it was the right time to stop.”

Recently, Ann made her final donation after taking the decision to call it a day, partly due to ill health.

Brenda Longstaff, the head of Northumbria Healthcare’s Bright charity, who oversees the volunteer’s team, said: “I would like to pass on my sincere gratitude to Ann for all she has done over the years.

“She has made a significant contribution to patient experience in our hospitals and it is incredible that she donated such a huge number of packs, including continuing to do so all throughout the Covid-19 lockdowns.”