A friendly face in trying times: Rugby woman honoured by hospital

Pictured: Edna Knight, whose volunteering work with heart patients at St Cross is being honoured on Thursday.
Pictured: Edna Knight, whose volunteering work with heart patients at St Cross is being honoured on Thursday.

EDNA Knight is well equipped to help people recover from heart attacks - not least because she’s a survivor herself.

And her efforts as a volunteer at the Hospital of St Cross will be rewarded today (Thursday) by staff.

The 72-year-old suffered a heart attack 12 years ago. She now draws on her experiences when she visits patients in the hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation unit.

Edna, of Constable Road, said: “When you’ve had a heart attack, you can put on a brave face - or you can go to pieces.

“Many people become very anxious - heart attacks can ruin people’s confidence and leave them feeling very vulnerable.

“I’m in a position where I can show patients that you can get through it. Here I am, 12 years later, still standing.

“I put on a brave face after mine, especially to my family, but that’s not to say I didn’t feel vulnerable inside.”

Edna, a former teacher, volunteers three hours a week and is one of ten volunteers being thanked on the hospital’s Cardiac Volunteer Appreciation Day.

She added: “It is a very rewarding role and we have had a lot of positive comments about the work we do.

“The volunteer role is to listen to patients and be there when they want to open up. All the volunteers are always available to answer the non-medical but more emotional questions patients may have about their journey ahead.

“I’d certainly encourage anyone who thinks they may be able to volunteer to do so.”

Cardiac rehabilitation programme manager Jo Holdsworth is full of praise for the volunteers. She said: “Patients who recently have had serious heart problems often feel unsure about starting a rehabilitation programme which involves exercise.

“The volunteer role helps make the sessions less medical and so less daunting for patients. Each volunteer brings their own character and strengths to the role and they really do help make a difference to the patient experience.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer at the unit can call (01788) 572831.