A volunteer who has helped patients have precious video calls with their loved ones during the pandemic was recognised in the New Year’s Honours list. 

Joanne Busson, one of the original members of the virtual visiting team at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, has been recognised for services to the community in Harlow.

As part of the New Year Honours, she was awarded with a British Empire Medal (BEM).

At the start of the Covid pandemic, Ms Busson joined the virtual visiting team, facilitating video calls and delivering messages to patients from their relatives and friends via the Message to a Loved One service.

After being named on the honours list, Ms Busson said: "I feel incredibly honoured to have been awarded such a special and prestigious award. 

"Through my various volunteering roles, I have met and volunteered with numerous teams of like-minded, can-do staff, trustees and volunteers who tirelessly give their time and energy to making positive change happen and all worthy of such recognition.  

"I also take great pride in being an Anne Robson Trust Butterfly Volunteer alongside an incredibly special team."

Ms Busson has previously volunteered in a variety of roles at the hospital, including as a Butterfly Volunteer through NHS trust's partner charity, the Anne Robson Trust. 

Butterfly volunteers offer a comforting presence, supporting the holistic care of patients as they near the end of their lives.

In addition to volunteering at the trust, Ms Busson heads the alternative education provision at Passmores Academy in Harlow and she also runs the homeless provision, the Harlow Chocolate Run.

Phillipa Haslehurst, voluntary services manager at The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, added: "Joanne's compassion and care is second to none and she is completely selfless. 

"Without her contribution, the services would not have been as successful as they are today and her kindness is genuinely embedded and instrumental in their provision. Jo continues to give her time and support to our patients. She is an incredible lady we are honoured to know."