Lord Barry Jones has hailed the “incredible impact” made by volunteers and fundraisers in hospitals across North Wales after being appointed Honorary President of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board Charity, Awyr Las.
The new role for the peer, who represented Alyn & Deeside (formerly Flint East) as an MP for over three decades, was officially revealed during a visit to Wrexham Maelor Hospital on Friday.
The Health Board’s official charity, Awyr Las, which enables people to give directly to specific areas of the NHS in North Wales, has spent over £20 million to enhance the care given to patients and their families since 2010.
“Having been involved in the Deeside League of Friends for many years, I’m well aware of the incredible contribution that volunteers and fundraisers make to the NHS in North Wales” explained Lord Jones.
“As Honorary President I will have the honour of championing the brilliant work carried out by Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board staff, and helping to promote the huge impact that Awyr Las, and charities like the Leagues of Friends and Maelor Voluntary Service make for patients across the region.
“The fact that over 4,000 generous North Wales citizens give through Awyr Las every year is testament to the fantastic care and treatment that Health Board staff deliver, and the high esteem in which the NHS is held.”
Born in Mancot in 1938, the former Shotton steelworker still lives in the area. He says his deep love for Flintshire and the people of North Wales has only grown stronger as he has immersed himself in voluntary work, alongside his commitments in the House of Lords, over the past two decades.
During Lord Jones’ visit to the Maelor Hospital he was shown new medical equipment purchased through Awyr Las and the Shooting Star Appeal at a cost of £40,000, which is dramatically improving the time taken to diagnose and treat women with suspected breast cancer. Lord Jones also met volunteers from the Maelor Voluntary Service who regularly gift their time in support of the hospital.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Chairman, Peter Higson welcomed Lord Jones’ appointment. He said
“We’re delighted that Lord Jones has chosen to continue his long and proud record of public service by accepting our invitation to become our charity’s Honorary President, and we look forward to working closely with him over the coming months and years.”
Speaking at a meeting of the Trustees of Awyr Las on Monday (30th January), Dr Higson paid tribute to the generosity of fundraisers, donors, and volunteers who have supported the Health Board since its formation in 2009.
“Our NHS charity, Awyr Las, and the many third sector organisations that support the Health Board play a crucial role in helping us to deliver the very best care that the people of North Wales deserve” said Dr Higson.
“Since 2010, thanks to the incredible generosity of people across the region, Awyr Las has been able to spend over £20m to brighten the lives of our patients and their families.
“Despite the well documented challenges we face as a Health Board, the number of people donating through the charity has increased in recent years, enabling Awyr Las to give ever increasing amounts of funding for new medical equipment, improved facilities, additional staff training and extra patient comforts which go above and beyond what the NHS is able to provide.”
“We are also incredibly grateful to the 2,000 volunteers who regularly give up their time to assist the 80 plus third sector groups who support healthcare services across North Wales. Their generosity and selflessness makes a huge difference not only to patients and their families, but to our frontline NHS staff who work so hard to provide the very best care.”