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Therapy dog and his owner win volunteer award for comforting patients


A volunteer and his therapy dog have won an award for their dedication to support staff and patients.

Andy Williams and his dog Buddi, a Lhasa Apso, have been volunteering at Wrexham Maelor Hospital for many years offering comfort and support to patients across the hospital including those in the Children’s Ward and Critical Care Unit. 

Andy was announced as the winner for the Volunteer Award at the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Boards’ 2022 Staff Awards night on Friday, October 21st. 

Beverley Williams, Bromfield Deputy Ward Manager at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, said: “Prior to the pandemic they visited both Wrexham Maelor Hospital and Nightingale House on a weekly basis. They provide support for children having procedures, and Buddi has sat with terminally ill patients and their relatives. 

“They both go that extra mile, and Andy is a full-time firefighter too, his dedication and support they give to the staff and patients is really appreciated. 

“Buddi has sat with patients as they have been in their end stages of life, he has been with patients in critical care when they have been on a ventilator and has sat with numerous children who have been terrified of needles, requiring blood or injections.” 

Buddi underwent six months of training before his visits to Wrexham Maelor Hospital to help patients relax and keep calm during their stay. 

During the pandemic Buddi was ‘fur-loughed’ but with Andy’s help, he did Zoom calls with the Children’s Ward. They also both volunteer at Nightingale House and for Blood Bike Wales, a charity which provides completely free courier service to the NHS, delivering blood samples and other items. 

Mark Lewis, Project Director for award sponsor Gleeds, said: “There are hundreds of volunteers who have made a positive difference to patients’ experience of NHS services across North Wales every year, and we were delighted to be able to help recognise their efforts this evening. 

“There’s no doubt that Andy and Buddi are clearly extremely well thought of by both the staff and patients they support. Congratulations to them both on winning this award.” 

Jeremy Nash, Chief Executive Officer for overall award sponsor Centerprise International, said: “I was delighted to hear the outstanding stories of kindness, care, compassion and bravery in the face of adversity shown by the finalists at the BCUHB awards.

“This is the fourth year that Centerprise International has sponsored these awards, and year-on-year we continue to be amazed at the lengths NHS staff in North Wales go to to support both patients in the area and their colleagues.

“Congratulations not just to tonight’s winners, but to everyone who was shortlisted for this year’s awards.”