An NHS volunteer who has spent six decades supporting the staff and patients at Bartholomew’s Hospital has been recognised in The King’s New Year’s Honours list.
Ann Wickham’s long association with Britain’s oldest hospital began in 1966 when her husband, renowned urologist John Wickham, joined the medical staff.
Around this time, Ann became a member of the Barts Guild, a charity run by volunteers and based at the hospital.
Within a year she was elected to the executive committee.
A nurse by background, Ann’s contribution to the Guild has been wide-ranging.
She has been elected vice-chair, chair on two occasions and, in 2008, finally took on the role of Guild President, a role she holds currently.
She assisted in the library on the children’s ward in the 1970s and 80s, designed the Guild’s logo in 1988 and, in 2011, wrote A Century of Service, a history on the Guild’s first 100 years.
One of Ann’s proudest achievements is leading the refurbishment of the hospital’s Princess Alice Garden, a previously unloved space in the grounds of St Barts the Less church which has since become a place of peace and tranquillity away from the hustle and bustle of the hospital.
The transformation was completed just in time for the then Guild President and Patron, HRH Princess Alice, to open the garden.
The Princess died a few days later.
Ann’s enormous contribution has been recognised with a British Empire Medal, awarded for services to charity and the community in London.
She said news of the award came as a “huge shock” but was a “great honour”.
She said: “The award is not just for me but for the whole Guild, and I hope it will draw attention to the silent army that have been at the heart of the hospital for many years.”
Barts Guild has been helping staff and patients at St Bartholomew’s Hospital for more than a century.
It runs the shop based in the atrium of the hospital’s KGV building as well as a trolley service that delivers items to the wards.
The Guild also gives grants aimed at improving patient care. Examples include home blood pressure monitors, ice dispensers in our intensive care wards and money to help with staff learning and development.