An 86-year-old, stalwart Thanet volunteer has attended a Buckingham Palace garden party.
Familiar to everyone at the QEQM Hospital for her work, Marie Hepburn, from Broadstairs, received recognition of her many years of excellent service by being invited to the event, attended by the Queen and leading members of the Royal family.
Marie has been managing the tea bar/shop -above Outpatients and near the entrance to Walmer A Ward – and trolley for the QEQM’s League of Friends for 6 years, but started as a volunteer in the hospital much earlier than that.
Marie has undertaken voluntary work since she moved to Thanet 47 years ago, including lengthy spells with Victim Support and the Royal British Legion. She started as a volunteer in Margate’s hospital in 1995 with administrative work for maternity records.
In 2003 she added working in the then- tea bar in maternity plus the current one above Outpatients, which at the time were run by the W.R.V.S.
In 2006 Marie became manager of the two tea bars, adding the trolley service in 2008.
That same year her contribution to the life of the hospital as a volunteer was recognised when she was presented with a badge at a ceremony organised by the East Kent Hospitals University Trust.
League of Friends Chairman Jeremy Voizey said: “We’re all very proud of Marie and delighted she’s received this recognition, which is richly deserved. She works tirelessly and along with our other volunteers that she manages, ensures the tea bar/shop & trolley service, which I know is highly valued & much appreciated by the patients, staff & visitors at the Hospital, runs smoothly.”
Marie said “I couldn’t do what I do without having such a wonderful team of fellow volunteers around me. It was a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience attending the Garden Party seeing members of the royal family up close.”
The best coffee in the hospital is served in that tea bar.