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Bank on Well Wishers’ garden to bloom

2023-05-17T09:19:10+01:00Tuesday 16 May 2023|

A bunch of green-fingered bankers got their hands dirty for a blooming good charity cause.

Six staff from the Wolverhampton branch of Handelsbanken mucked in by transforming the flower bed outside Walsall Manor Hospital, as well as tidying the Memorial Garden opposite.

The bank, which has branches all over the UK, allows its staff an annual paid day to give their time to the local community as part of its corporate social responsibility. And after seeing the work Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust charity Well Wishers does, they chose to donate their time to it.

Ian Gough, Deputy Manager of Handelsbanken’s Wolverhampton branch, was joined by Corporate Managers James Bishop and Dan Ellis, Account Manager Supports Dawn Asbury and Carol Jordan, and Victoria Jefferies, Private Banking Manager, planting pink and white begonias to pick out the word Well Wishers in giant three feet high letters.

“The branch gives staff time to do things in the community and support local causes, in particular smaller charities by doing volunteering work,” said Ian, from Burntwood.

“That’s where we found out about the work Well Wishers do. We took a team to its quiz night and approached Georgie Westley (Fundraising Manager) to see if there was anything else we could do to support them.

“She mentioned the garden at the front of the Manor Hospital and asked if we could get it looking to how it was pre-COVID-19. So our staff held a collection through our ‘dress down Friday’ where colleagues make a charitable donation to come to work in smart-casual dress.

“We raised £250 and we used that money to buy begonias from Hollybush Nurseries in Essington, which transported them to the Manor for us.”

Dawn, from Willenhall, was keen to muck in as she has lots of connections with Walsall Healthcare. She and her children George, 19, and Sophie 22 – who was a paramedic until the birth of Jax but currently works in a GP surgery – were born at the Manor, along with Sophie’s son Jax, in December 2021.

Both Dawn and Jax spent time in the Neonatal Unit and Dawn’s dad Alan Gittings received excellent care there before dying of liver cancer at the age of 63 last August.

Dawn’s aunt, Carol Turner, works in the kitchens and cousin Zoe Plater is a Ward Cleaner. And Sophie and Leonie Westley – Georgie’s daughter – went to New Invention Primary School together.

“I have happy and sad memories here,” said Dawn. “The place means a lot to me so it’s nice to give something back. With my dad, the care he received was excellent and they got him well enough to go home.”

Georgie said: “We’re delighted with what Ian and his staff from Handelsbanken have done – they have transformed the flower bed and I can’t wait to see it in full bloom. We’re very grateful for their efforts, and special thanks to Sharan Thompson, Account Manager Support for instigating this partnership.”

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