30 March 2021

The High Sheriff’s Awards celebrate the achievements of young people under the age of 25 who have become positive role models and helped their community.   Every nomination is considered by a panel, chaired by the High Sheriff.

High Sheriff Caroline Peel has presented three young Mountbatten Volunteers with their awards and said: “The calibre of nominees for the High Sheriff’s Awards this year has been astounding.  I am so impressed by all the young people I have presented awards to.  Their caring ethic, willingness to go the extra mile to help others, often whilst undergoing severe personal problems, has really touched me.  I know that their work is inspiring others, and that they will continue when studies and work permit.  These are just three of 22 outstanding winners, and I know that their work with and for the Hospice has meant so much to the Hospice and the patients they have interacted with.”

The Mountbatten Volunteers recognised with awards were:

Solomon Wells

Solomon Wells is 17 years old from Ryde and has been volunteering three hours per week with the Inpatient Unit since mid-August 2020.  Solomon is in his first year of A Levels and is thinking about pursuing a career in medicine.  He wanted an opportunity to volunteer within a clinical environment so that he would be able to gain more experience and skills.

Staff in the Inpatient Unit have been impressed with his communication skills with patients and with the nursing team.  They say that he is a ‘team player’, very positive and an asset to the group of In-Patient Unit volunteers.    Solomon says: “I love being at the Inpatient Unit. It is a joy. It is just such a lovely thing to do.  I find that many patients want to talk with me whilst I’m trying to organise the menu orders.   The perception of the Hospice can be daunting but I would suggest that any young person wanting to volunteer should come and find out more.  It’s so worthwhile.”

Thea Ricketts

Thea Ricketts is 11 years old, from Carisbrooke and has taken part in Schools Walk the Wight since she was 3 years old, and in the last 4 years she has raised over £10,000 in sponsorship for Mountbatten.  She was encouraged by her Nanny initially; who taught her that the hospice is a very important and special place that has cared for special members of their family over the years.

During the first lockdown, after a family friend died with support from Mountbatten during a very challenging time, Thea was inspired to take part in Challenge 100 and increase the target of £100 to £1,000!   She planned to bake 1,000 cakes and ask friends and family for donations for Mountbatten in return for the delivery of the sweet treats directly to their door, or the door of a friend or family member that needed cheering up. Each week the list of cakes available was posted on social media and Thea took orders, created delivery route plans, baked with her Dad and boxed up cakes for delivery.  There was such a huge response, with some people ordering every week, that they baked cakes for 2 weeks longer than planned as local businesses heard of her efforts and offered to cover the costs by sponsoring a week of bakes, with a local bakery donating the cake boxes. In the end, all costs were covered, and every penny went to Mountbatten. Thea’s final total was 1,203 cakes and £1,555 raised.

Most recently after her Great Grandma died, Thea and her family completed 97km each by cycling, running or walking and raised £4,000 for the Alzheimers Café IOW and a piece of equipment to enhance the lives of those living with Dementia at the Care Home that looked after her Great Grandma.      Supporting the local community is a family affair, led by Thea’s community spirit, entrepreneurial skills, and ability to plan and co-ordinate successful fundraising campaigns.

Harrrson Burnett

Harrison Burnett is 20 years old and comes from Cowes.  Harrison is one of the Volunteers supporting the Inpatient Unit.  He started this volunteering role in May 2020 when Mountbatten were looking for people who could support the Inpatient Unit at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic (as so many of the IPU volunteers were, due to the Goverment guidance not able to come into the Hospice.  

Harrison says: “Volunteering with Mountbatten has been very rewarding.   I value being able to be alongside a patient and spend time listening to them, especially when it has been more difficult for some families and friends to visit regularly over the past year  I feel supported by the nursing team and valued within my volunteering role.”

Liz Arnold, Director of Nursing at Mountbatten says: “Many congratulations to our young volunteers who have been recognised by the High Sheriff Awards.   Their contribution to Mountbatten is invaluable.  Mistaken perceptions of what the Hospice does may impact on an individuals decision to volunteer their services to us, but it is so important that we encourage young people to talk about and understand death, dying and bereavement and how the work of Mountbatten is so important for those coping with these life experiences.  We hope that many more will want to volunteer with us in the future.” 

Mountbatten has a three day Summer School programme running in August which has been specially designed for 16 and 17 year olds.   Details have been circulated to schools and colleges.