Volunteers share their stories for NHS 75

5 July 2023

Nathasha Gardi

My name is Nathasha Gardi and as my dream was a career in the NHS, I looked for a way to sample what the NHS was like. My aunt, who works in out-patients, put me in touch with the volunteering team coordinator at Bury – they recruited me for the reception desk and responder role. I joined the Friday team on main reception at Fairfield General where it was a privilege helping all visitors. The speciality I was working towards was Audiology so during my time at the hospital, I applied for a trainee clinical scientist position in Audiology at Trafford General Hospital on a 3-year training programme called the Scientist Training Programme (STP). And was successful. Volunteering helped me secure this and the team gave me wonderful advice and support.

I’ve been in the role for 8 months now. I’m currently working in the clinics and undergoing rotations at different hospitals, which is very interesting! Volunteering was such a rewarding and educational experience that has helped me so much with getting onto my desired career in the NHS. I am still in touch with the volunteering team – I’m grateful to have met them and it's been such a pleasure working with everyone. I feel very proud to be part of the future years of the NHS. Happy 75th birthday!

Noor Iqbal

I started volunteering to gain more experience for my career aspirations. It’s given me so much more than I realised – I feel my people skills have improved greatly, and I feel so fulfilled by the work I do. I have supported patients directly with providing refreshments and food and general chatting, which in turn helps the clinical staff focus on other things. In reception, one role I enjoy is supporting the bereavement team by collecting and delivering patients’ notes, which helps them focus on the families’ needs during their difficult times. I’ve made so many friends and I look forward to giving back by volunteering whenever I can. I’ll be studying medicine at university and I am thinking of eventually becoming a specialist in ophthalmology. Volunteering for the NHS has brought my dream one step closer!


I started my NHS career in recruitment in 2004. I decided to take early retirement in 2021 but I’ve always been proud of the NHS family –   especially of how we all pulled together during the pandemic. I knew I would miss the NHS and with a desire to ‘put something back’, I joined the volunteering team. Although I loved my admin role, volunteering has allowed me to see the front line and the direct support our clinical staff gives to patients. I love being part of the team and feel I make a real difference when I’m able to put someone at ease or help escort them round the hospital. I look forward to my shifts every week, especially the one in the mornings when I support patients in A & E.

Colin Marland

I was 6 years old  when the NHS was born. A tanker driver before retiring, it was my wife who showed me an advert in the newspaper for volunteers. I applied and started in 2019, just before the pandemic which unfortunately forced me to step down before I was dealt a devastating blow. I sadly lost my wife and went through a very unhappy time in my life. But I’m pleased to say it was volunteering that helped turned my life around when I was asked to return after the restrictions were lifted. With the full support of my family, there was only one answer and I have been part of the Fairfield General Hospital (FGH) volunteer team ever since.

Volunteering has genuinely been a lifesaver for me – connecting with others, chatting to patients and new friends, and making that difference to patients here at FGH. Every day I look forward to the camaraderie and chat. But also, because I work over four hours each day, I receive a complimentary meal in our restaurant – that’s lovely too, so thank you!

Volunteers at Fairfield General Hospital celebrating NHS 75
Members of our Volunteer Team at Fairfield General Hospital
L-R Janet Bent, Meerab Fatima, Noor Iqbal, Ben O’Brien, Caroline Short

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