A BIG-hearted volunteer has joined his wife by being honoured with an MBE.

John Saunders, from Carmel, was recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list for his services to the Good Companions of Holywell Community Hospital.

The 71-year-old shares the prestigious award with wife Jean, also 71, who was appointed MBE in 2000 for her services to the Lluesty Hospital in Holywell.

The pair set up the Good Companions 47 years ago to raise money on a regular basis for the 44-bed Holywell Community Hospital, which was built to provide services previously supplied by the old Holywell Cottage Hospital, Lluesty Hospital, Holywell Clinics and GP Practice.

Together they have raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for every day essentials and life-saving equipment.

John says his MBE appointment came totally out of the blue.

He told the Leader: “I was flabbergasted and very humbled when the letter dropped on my doormat.

“Apparently six people had nominated me for this but I had no idea.”

Wife Jean knows first-hand small things can make a big difference in a hospital environment.

She worked as a sister at Lluesty Hospital and worked tirelessly to buy curtains for a 157-bed hospital.

She said: “There were no curtains around the beds on the geriatric ward. I kept coming home very upset these patients had no dignity.

“John and I agreed to stop talking about it and start doing something about it. It took 18 months to put curtains in the whole hospital and and that’s how it all began.
Luckily everyone got behind us.”

The couple, who have been married for 48 years, along with 36 other members of the Good Companions, have raised more than £100,000 since March alone for the hospital.

Jean says she is “thrilled to bits” her husband has also been recognised for his efforts. John has worked very hard for the hospital, if not harder than me,” she said.

“Our drive is helping the patients. We’re very proud of what we have achieved and we have high hopes for the future.”