On the 12th May, Leeds Hospitals Charity staff were proud to attend the opening of a new fully refurbished staff room on the Respiratory Ward at St James’s Hospital.

This transformation was made possible thanks to the Whitehead family, who contributed an incredible £5,331.77 to the project in memory of their father Stephen ‘Rocky’ Whitehead who sadly passed away on the ward in December.

In total, over £7,000 worth of funding has given the staff room a new lease of life, including a fresh lick of paint, a comfy sofa, new table and chairs, a new microwave and coffee machine and artwork.

Before this remarkable transformation, the staff room was uninviting, with old furniture and an outdated kitchen where staff found it difficult to relax and unwind during busy shifts.

Before                                                                               After 

Sam Williams, Ward Manager said:

“I never actually had the privilege of meeting Stephen ‘Rocky’, but to say he was only on our ward for a couple of days, the legacy he will leave has given us this amazing staff room. I honestly can’t tell you how much it means to staff, just to know that our hard work, care and compassion is appreciated. It’s more than just a staff room; its recognition for all of our staff and their dedication and that is so important.”

This new space provides staff who have been working hard to care for patients during the pandemic with a ‘safe haven’ where they can escape the hustle and bustle of the ward to rest and recuperate with colleagues.

Alice Hirst, Assistant Practitioner on the Cardio-Respiratory ward was by Stephen’s side at his last moments when his family were unable to say goodbye:

“I’d like to say thank you to the Whitehead family on behalf of all of our ward staff, I don’t think you have any idea what difference this room is going to make to us. We finally have a place where we can actually take time out during busy shifts which has been harder than anything this year. For me personally, this will be somewhere where I can sit and remember Stephen.”

To thank Stephen’s children, Katie and Christopher for their fundraising efforts, there is a special rainbow themed whiteboard in honour of Stephen, which also includes drawings done by the children of staff on the ward.