A retired volunteer and an emergency department consultant have both been honoured in the King’s New Years Honours 2023.
Bidge Garton, who volunteered at The County for 38 years, and Dr Paul Ransom a consultant at the hospital for over 20 years, have both been recognised in the annual honours list.
Great-grandmother Bidge now joins the ranks of those who hold a BEM (British Empire Medal) which is awarded for a hands-on service to the local community that’s made a significant difference. And that significant difference didn’t go unrecognised by staff at the emergency department when Bidge retired in 2021 after nearly four decades of volunteering at the Brighton hospital.
At her farewell event where a room named after Bidge was unveiled, A&E Matron, Will Rowell, said: “Bidge would always help colleagues, always comfort us when we needed comforting. She would always be there to reassure relatives and always knew what to say.” Relatives now use The Bidge Garton Relatives Room – Always Time to Listen, a room where Bidge spent thousands of nights, talking with thousands of people.
Volunteer Services Manager, Julie Wiseman added: “Bidge is nothing short of a legend. She has provided reassurance, comfort and kindness to patients and relatives and supported the medical and nursing teams for all these years. She used to be known as the Owl of A&E because she would start her shifts late in the afternoon and still be here way after midnight – even on Christmas Day”.
Speaking after finding out about her honour, Bidge said: “I feel so lucky and privileged not just to have received this honour but for the memories and dear friends I have made during the years I volunteered at the hospital. I can honestly say I have gained more than I have given.”
Also recognised on the honours list is another from The County hospital emergency department. Dr Paul Ransom has been awarded a prestigious OBE for his overseas and diplomatic duties and will receive his honour in person at an investiture ceremony.
Paul has worked at The County for over 20 years as an emergency consultant but it’s his humanitarian work that this award recognises. Paul volunteers for the global frontline medical aid charity UK-Med as part of an emergency medical team who provide medical care and training in areas hit by crisis or disaster. Over the last two years, Paul has travelled with UK-Med to Haiti after the earthquake, to Armenia to work in a Covid hospital and has spent three months in Eastern Ukraine teaching fire and ambulance personnel emergency care skills and with mobile medical teams.
He is also the medical lead for the HALO Trust, a de-mining agency aiming to decrease to burden of conflict around the world.
Paul stated that he was ‘pretty surprised’ to find out that he had been awarded this honour: “When you work with people in conflict areas there seem so many others who clearly deserve it more. I hope that having this award will give me more influence to assist people affected by conflict, humanitarian disaster or disease outbreaks.”
Professor Rob Galloway, emergency consultant at University Hospitals Sussex, said: “Paul has been a friend and colleague of mine for the last 20 years. We have been so lucky to work with him, and his patients have been so lucky to have been cared for by him. But it’s his work outside of the area doing international humanitarian work which is truly inspirational and there is no one who is more worthy of this award than Paul.”
Dr George Findlay, chief executive at University Hospitals Sussex, said: “We’re delighted to hear that two such deserving people have been recognised in this way. Both are so humble and it’s this as well as their kindness and dedication that has led them to be nominated and their achievements recognised. On behalf of everyone at the Trust I’d like to say congratulations and a huge thank you for all you have done and continue to do to help others.”