Muslim volunteers provide specialist support to Queen’s Hospital and King George Hospital patients

PUBLISHED: 10:12 14 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:16 14 November 2018

L-R: Shamim Merchant, Saima Razzaque, Alison Horncastle, Trust chaplain, Tabassum Khokhar and Sofia Bhatti. Photo: Queen's Hospital

L-R: Shamim Merchant, Saima Razzaque, Alison Horncastle, Trust chaplain, Tabassum Khokhar and Sofia Bhatti. Photo: Queen's Hospital


Volunteers from the Muslim Support Service (MSS) are providing emotional support to patients at the borough’s hospital.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs both hospitals, identified a need for more specialist support for Muslims patients.

The trust decided to bring on board volunteers, Saima Razzaque, Shamim Merchant, Tabassum Khokhar and Sofia Bhatti.

Already experienced volunteers for the MSS, based in the Gardens of Peace in Hainault, the four volunteers provided support to those who had experienced bereavement in the Muslim community.

Tabassum, 47, from Gants Hill said: “I spoke to one lady with breast cancer and her son said I got more out of her in half an hour than he’d been able to in hours!

“We try to be a friendly face and help to make them feel better. I feel blessed to do it and get real satisfaction from it when I can put a smile on a patient’s face.”

All volunteers are trained to help people dealing with bereavement, as they provide support to all patients at the hospital, not just those nearing the end of their life.

“My husband died in 2012 and it was a traumatic time. That made this a cause close to my heart so I wanted to do something,” said Sofia, 49, from Redbridge.

“It’s very interesting and you hear lots of stories about their lives. I feel privileged that they want to share their stories with me.

“One elderly man stands out for me, I wasn’t sure if he wanted to chat, but he so appreciated it and said what I was doing was amazing. That really reinforced it for me.”

Latest Romford News Stories


Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Recorder readers this week.

Readers may not have heard of Sadiq Khan’s planned expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), but it is set to have a detrimental impact on the hundreds of thousands of people who drive inside the North and South Circulars every day.

Christmas, the time of year when we are pressured to buy things no one wants for people we don’t want to buy for at prices we’re not happy with.

Yesterday, 11:38

Police tasered a man in Collier Row after he threatened officers with a meat cleaver.

Yesterday, 10:00

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this weekend? Watch our Met Office video forecast.

Yesterday, 08:00

The discovery that a man who had been jailed for using his position as a police officer to prey on vulnerable women could have been allowed to work at Queen’s hospital without a compulsory background check is worrying both for staff and patients.

Fri, 17:05

A market trader from Newbury Park has been found guilty of torching a £260,000 Ferrari during an arson attack in Emerson Park that was revenge for a business deal gone wrong.

Fri, 16:18

Two of the three teenagers accused of taking part in a fatal knife attack which killed a 15-year-old outside a party in Collier Row have claimed they played no role in the incident.


From November, The Mercury in Romford begins to celebrate Christmas. The mall has plenty of gift ideas, fun events and activities for everyone

Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now