A chaplain at Sherwood Forest Hospitals celebrated his 80th birthday this week surrounded by many of the colleagues and patients he has supported over the years.
Rodney Warden, who has worked at the Trust for nearly 26 years, is one of four Trust employees aged in their 80s.
Rodney has made a significant impact on the Trust over the years, developing a range of support groups and events. He is well known for the support he gives to bereaved parents and families. Rodney helps ensure that the annual lantern walk takes place each year and hosts a support group where parents who have lost babies can find support and advice.
As well as supporting patients in their time of need, Rodney is always there to lend a listening ear and some comforting words of advice to colleagues. Colleague wellbeing support is a big part, not only of Rodney’s role as a Chaplin, but also in his role as a Trust Wellbeing Champion.
Born in Peckham, London, Rodney started his career as an Ordinary Methodist Minister. In 1998 he was sent to the local area as part of his role where he began working at Sherwood Forest Hospitals for one session a week, officially joining the Trust on 1 March 1998. Rodney soon became a much-loved colleague and has helped a number of patients and colleagues through difficult and challenging times.
Rodney said: “I have become part of a family working here. A lot of things have happened personally whilst I’ve been here, and you can always talk about anything and everything. The Trust has supported my development and I’m proud of the things I’ve established here such as the self-help group for bereaved parents. From personal experience, I can say it’s the best one I have been to.
“I’ve built up a lot of relationships with colleagues from all different backgrounds across the Trust. We’re a faith centre, we’re not dedicated. It is a place of worship for everybody, no matter what religion you believe in. Many colleagues work here due to the support we give them, and I am very proud of that.
“God’s gift to me was being able to help and look after people.”
Rob Simcox, Director of People at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, said: “I’m proud of our diverse workforce and colleagues like Rodney who continue to provide a positive contribution for so many years and into their 80s.
“We have colleagues of more than 100 nationalities, of all ages and from all backgrounds. Together they bring a vast amount of skills, knowledge and expertise to our hospitals and help us to deliver outstanding care to our patients and each other.
“On behalf of everyone at Sherwood Forest Hospitals, I’d like to wish Rodney a very happy birthday and many happy returns.”
After turning 80 Rodney still has no plans to retire just yet. Although he has tried twice, he has always come back.