An appeal has been launched to help patients at Lister Hospital in Stevenage keep in touch with their loved ones over the Christmas period.

This time last year, due to the pandemic, virtually no visitors were allowed in the hospital and patients were asked to only have one family member as the point of contact.

Lauren Butterfield was the nominated family member keeping in touch with Lister staff while her grandad was being treated there for COVID-19.

Sadly, Lauren's grandad died while he was in hospital and, like many families, Lauren and the rest of the family never got to visit to say a proper goodbye.

Visiting is still very limited due to the pandemic, so the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity is funding a volunteer coordinator to help patients at Lister keep in touch with their loved ones while they are in hospital.

The person filling this role is actually Lauren, who can now help patients have important calls and video chats with their families.

Lauren said: “I’ve been there at the other end of the phone, desperate to hear about my grandad. The doctors and nurses are so busy looking after the patient they don’t usually have time to set up phone calls. That’s where I can help.

“It’s such a small thing, but it really matters being able to hear the voice or see the face of your loved one. I can see what a difference it makes. Patients get a boost and don’t feel so lonely.”

Eloise Huddleston, director of the East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals’ Charity, said: “Lauren brings kindness, patience and empathy born out of her own experience to this role, which is entirely funded by charitable donations.

“Please make a donation if you can to help us continue to deliver projects like this to support patients who will have to spend Christmas in hospital – a time when being able to stay in contact with loved ones is more important than ever to many of us.

“You can make a donation at and help make it a little easier for patients having to spend Christmas in hospital. Thank you.”