AFTER brightening up the days of Wrexham Maelor Hospital patients for 16 years, volunteer Ron Evans has said goodbye to colleagues and patients on the Shooting Stars Unit. 

Ron, 83, from Hightown, Wrexham, started volunteering in 2008 as a Guide, helping people find their way around the hospital.

In 2010 he was asked to become a Robin Volunteer on the Shooting Stars Unit where patients receive chemotherapy, and he has supported the unit ever since. 

Denbighshire Free Press: The team at Wrexham Maelor Hospital's cancer unitThe team at Wrexham Maelor Hospital's cancer unit (Image: Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board)

Ron said: “In 2008 I saw an advert in the newspaper for the Guides, to help people around find their way round, and I had previous operations at the hospital so thought it would be nice to give back. 

“In 2010 I was asked if I would volunteer on the Shooting Stars Unit, and I remember at first I had some doubts thinking it will be all doom and gloom, but it’s nothing like it, the staff are excellent, and the patients all help each other and are optimistic.

“My role is to assist the staff, top up water jugs, order lunches, help put out food and to speak with the patients. I hear so many interesting stories.

"My main role as I saw it was to make the patients smile, if I can make them laugh then even better.” 

During the pandemic Ron had a two year break from coming into the hospital, whilst volunteers were not allowed to enter, but even then he would come to the unit windows to say hello and speak to the patients attending for their chemotherapy. 

Ron, a former Navigation Engineer in the RAF, feels like it’s the right time to retire (again), but says he will spend his time walking some of the coastal path and continuing with his woodwork. 

The Robin Volunteers, nick-named the Robins because of their bright red polo shirts, are renowned for their friendly nature and willingness to help others, and Ron has become a familiar face at Wrexham Maelor Hospital supporting hundreds of patients.

Julie Parry, Robin Volunteers Coordinator, said: “We are so lucky to have had Ron as part of the Robins team for the last 16 years. He is such a kind, thoughtful and caring person, who always put the patients first and foremost.

"Although he had an amazing sense of humour, Ron took his duties on the ward very seriously - he was always on hand to make a brew, help out at lunchtimes and offer a friendly ear to patients and staff on the ward. 

“We wish Ron a very happy retirement and look forward to hearing about his adventures.”