STAFF and patients at St Giles Walsall Hospice are benefitting from a massive £44,700 donation from the Unite union given in memory of one of their former members.
Glyn Watkins, who worked at Goodyear in Wolverhampton for 24 years, died in June 2016 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The 64-year-old factory worker from Bentley spent around three weeks at the hospice where he was cared for by a team of nurses he affectionately called his ‘angels’.
After he died, one of his three sons Neil, who worked at the former tyre plant alongside his dad, wrote to Unite to request a donation to the hospice from the union branch’s benevolent fund.
Because the Goodyear plant was closing down, Unite – formerly the Transport and General Workers’ Union – decided to create a ‘living legacy’ to all the shop floor workers who had been contributing to the fund since 1985.
Most of the funds had already been donated to good causes in the community but when union officials received Neil’s letter they decided to visit St Giles Walsall Hospice to see how they could help.
Cyril Barrett, chair of the benevolent fund, said: “We were so touched by the kindness St Giles staff showed to one of our colleagues that we wanted to donate the money we had left in the fund to support their amazing work.
“As a thank you for everything they’ve done for Glyn, his family and others we’ve purchased equipment that we hope will make the lives of staff, patients and their relatives easier.”
With the money donated so far, the hospice has purchased new furniture and medical equipment including state of the art electronic fans for every patient.
Glyn’s son Neil said: “I’m so proud this amazing donation has been made in dad’s honour.
“The level of care he received was just fantastic and we’d never experienced anything like it before. It was practically like a hotel and he used to refer to the nurses as his angels.
“They deserve every penny and Dad would have been thrilled to know he’s been able to help them in return.”
St Giles supports over 7,000 people each year who are facing the challenge of a potentially terminal illness. It has 400 staff and 1,450 volunteers who are dedicated to improving people’s ability to live a fulfilling life for as long as possible.
Sharon White, fundraising manager at St Giles Hospice Walsall, said: “We’d like to thank Neil and his family for thinking of us at such a difficult time and of course all the members of Unite for their generosity and kindness.
“Our care is all about enabling people to live as well as they can so we hope Glyn’s family will take comfort from knowing that the equipment we’ve been able to buy is already benefitting staff, patients and relatives.”
Glyn’s son Neil Watkins, St Giles nurse Jo Woolley and chair of the 5/344 Transport and General Workers Benevolent Fund, Cyril Barrett with one of the Dyson fans purchased with the donation.
Cyril Barrett, Neil Watkins and Jo Woolley with some chairs purchased with the donation.
St Giles’ fundraising manager Sharon White, Neil Watkins, St Giles’ nurse Jo Woolley, Cyril Barrett and St Giles’ ward manager Angie Greenwood.
Jo Woolley, Angie Greenwood, Cyril Barrett, Neil Watkins & Sharon White.