HUNDREDS of volunteers have been thanked for their work supporting health in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan.

A special celebration event has been held to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the University Health Board's 500 volunteers.

Maria Battle, Chair of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, was one of those who attended the event and offered a heartfelt thank you to those who give up their time.

The event was told how the number of volunteers had grown from just 11 in 2009 to more than 500 today; working in a variety of areas supporting patient care.

Volunteer Deborah Redwood-Knight shared her story with the audience. She said how she had attended the Education Programme for Patient (EPP), a scheme run by volunteers which helps those with long term conditions live day to day.

Deborah said taking part had a major impact on her life.

“I have Cerebral Palsy and was told basically ‘this is as good as its going to get for you’" she said.

“So, I decided to attend the EPP course which is a chronic disease self management programme where you are tutored by volunteers who also have long term problems.

“I thought I was doing ok in the course, but at the end of week three, they told me I could explain the self management tools very well and asked me if I would consider being a tutor. I completed my course and trained as a volunteer, was assessed and passed and got accredited.

“I absolutely love doing the course, I know some of the problems you have as a result of a long term health condition and as I understand where patients are coming from they appreciate my help.”

Peter Welsh, General Manager at University Hospital Llandough, added his gratitude and said: "I am very pleased that we are recognising and appreciating the tremendous efforts that our many volunteers give to the hospital.

"Llandough greatly benefits from their hard work and commitment and I'm very pleased to thank them, on behalf of everyone here at UHL for their ongoing support."

Deborah encouraged others to join the ranks of the UHB’s volunteers.

She said: “I would ask anyone if they have an hour a week or even a month, I would make such a difference to someone’s life. Helping someone else is the greatest feeling - you are doing something worthwhile!”

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, please contact Michelle Fowler on 029 20 335467