Minister for the Third Sector Ed Miliband visited St Thomas' Hospital last week to meet some of the hospital's 400 volunteers and open a multi-faith prayer room.
Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust has approximately 400 volunteers who assist in a variety of ways including distributing books and magazines to wards, directing patients, providing support to clerical staff and serving customers in the Friends' shops across both sites.
Mr Miliband addressed many of these volunteers at a reception in the hospital's Central Hall: "The volunteers at Guy's and St Thomas' make a huge difference to the experience of patients. I am delighted to have the opportunity to meet them and see the work they do.
"Volunteering can help our public services, responding to users and communities. It can bring different people together, building greater understanding and respect. And it can benefit the volunteer as much as the community, giving new skills and experiences."
The Minister presented a bouquet of flowers to volunteer Elizabeth Perreau who has worked and volunteered at Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals for more than 60 years.
Volunteers Jim McGeever and Olga Ketley spoke of their experiences at the two hospitals and explained why they think volunteering is so important.
Trust chairman Patricia Moberly described her admiration for those who choose to spend their free time volunteering. "I admire the strength, diversity and long-term support of the volunteers at Guy's and St Thomas'. This event has provided us with an opportunity to celebrate and share their success with the minister responsible for them," she said.
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