Veteran volunteer at Havering hospital retires on 90th birthday

A VETERAN hospital volunteer who won an MBE for his work has retired on his 90th birthday.

Len Bint, who freely gave up his time to help patients at the day unit in St George’s Hospital, in Suttons Lane, Hornchurch, has finally decided to hang up his walking stick after 20 years service.

After retiring from the mining company Rio Tinto at the age of 70 – where he had worked since the age of 14 – Len started volunteering as a driver, picking up patients from their homes and taking them to the hospital.

Len, from Newbury Gardens, Upminster, would also often sit and talk to patients who were reluctant for treatment over a cup of tea and make them feel more relaxed about their visit.

As Len began to get older he was not able to carry on driving patients, taking an administrative role in the hospital instead.

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Len received his MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2001 for services to the hospital, after receiving many nominations.

Len said: “It’s sad to be leaving after 20 years with people who have become family, but now I’m retiring to spend time with my own family.”

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Ralph McCormack, chief executive of NHS Outer North East London Community Services at St George’s, said: “It’s hard to summarise 20 years in just a few words.

“Len is held in very high regard here by all of the staff and he thinks nothing of putting others before himself. We would not have been able to provide the service we did if it wasn’t for Len. He never took a day off unless it was absolutely needed and we are extremely grateful for the assistance he has given us over the years.”

Sister Sheila Stevens, who ran the day hospital during the time that Len volunteered, said: “Len is still very special to us and has a great sense of humour. He is always immaculately presented and is a true gentleman buying each member of staff on the ward a red rose on St George’s day.

“We became a family and we were all there to help one another.”

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