Shropshire NHS Awards: Graham Furber is putting a lifetime of expertise to good use

He might be retired, but Graham Furber hasn't let that stop him from helping patients at Shropshire's hospitals.

A qualified biomedical scientist who worked in blood sciences in Shropshire for 41 years, since 2008 he has volunteered with transfusion practitioners at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

The 68-year-old is among five people shortlisted for the People's Choice NHS VIP Awards, which have been organised by the trust.

  • Find out how you can vote in Saturday’s Shropshire Star.

  • We will run down all five finalists and explain how to make your choice.

  • Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust’s VIP Awards reward workers who help make a difference.

  • The Shropshire Star has teamed up with the trust for the People’s Choice category.

  • Finalists will be invited to an awards ceremony later this month.

Qualifying in his field in 1967, Mr Furber has been dedicated to his work for his whole life, now helping to train hospital staff at the two hospitals in all aspects of blood safety.

Mr Furber, of Bomere Heath, near Shrewsbury, used to be the head biomedical scientist for Sath and was responsible for blood banks at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Princess Royal Hospital and Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen.

He said: "I retired in 2008 and we now have two nursing sisters who are called specialist practitioners of transfusion.

"What I do now is assist them with training, safety, do some filing, I basically manage their office."

Though he is no longer registered with the healthcare professionals council and unable to do any technical work, some of the practices he trains others in are still in his name from when he was employed at the trust and he is still able to use his technical knowledge to help the hospital's nurses where he can.

He said: "When I was working I was mainly in the lab but now I go out into the wards so it is a different slant on what I used to do.

"I am keeping a hand in but it is an offshoot of what I used to do"

On Monday, Mr Furber was at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, using his knowledge to help with the training of a number of Healthcare Assistants.

He said: "When my father retired, he was a greengrocer and he said he missed the discipline of getting up in the morning."

He added: "I was ready to go when I retired at 60 but I think doing this helps keep me gong. I have always been very proud to work in the health service, although it gets a lot of flack."

David Burrows, a spokesman for the trust, said: "He is a wonderful asset to our team."

When asked how he felt about his nomination he said "embarrassed" but said he was still very proud to work within the hospitals trust.

Mr Furber is married to Pam, another Biomedical Scientist, and they had two sons Richard and Chris.

Richard was born with Spina Bifida, and Pam cared for him until he died aged 34 in 2010.

Chris, himself married with two children, is national performance director for the GB Paralympic Swimming Team and is in Rio at the moment, he was previously lead coach for Paralympic cycling at London 2012.

He also has a vast outside experience of volunteering, he works at Walford & North Shropshire and SCAT colleges on the Second Chance project, which teaches adults maths and English.

He is a volunteer cricket coach for children and young people, and works with Wem Cricket Club, Shropshire Disabled Cricket League, and Shropshire Cricket Board.

Graham also volunteers on the Chance to Shine scheme, which is a national charity which aims to reintroduce cricket into state schools.

Graham and Pam went to Buckingham Palace to receive a Queen's Award for volunteers on behalf of the Cricket Federation for People with Disabilities.

He also carried the Olympic Torch in June 2012 – this honour was due to his voluntary work with disabled people, passing the baton to Shropshire Military Cross winner Ricky Furgusson.

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