Volunteers nominated as Unsung Heroes on the One Show

As the NHS marks its 70th anniversary, The One Show together with the Patients Association, said ‘thank you’ to the brilliant people who keep it going day after day.

John and Sheena with Jane Holt

John and Sheena Thomson who run Killie Heartmates, a lifetime exercise group for people affected by heart disease and their partners, were two of our volunteers who were nominated for the Unsung Hero award for going beyond the call of duty to really make a difference.


Patients and their families from all over the UK were asked to nominate people currently working in the NHS in all health professions who have gone the extra mile to look after them, or done something even more exceptional.


John said: “In 1993, I had a heart attack and a coronary artery bypass surgery. I went to cardiac rehabilitation - still in its infancy both locally and nationally.


“My wife, Sheena and I quickly realised that an exercise group that you could attend forever would be beneficial for both the person affected by heart disease and their partner, who often also requires support. The Killie Heartmates committee as a whole work extremely hard to support everyone who attends our group.”


John and Sheena worked with NHS Ayrshire & Arran to set up their support group that did just that and welcomed people affected by heart problems who wish to exercise in a safe and supportive environment.


That support group is called Killie Heartmates and it is still running today. It has recently expanded with the support of Vibrant Communities and runs twice a week.


John and Sheena also volunteer as ‘Activity Friends’ in cardiac rehabilitation working with our frailest and least fit clients, dispensing fun, laughter, cuddles and peer support.


Jane Holt, Physiotherapy Team Lead, said: “At only 52 years old, John turned a negative health event into a positive one. Now at 77 years old, John continues to work with the NHS together with Sheena to make things better for all other people that come after him.


“We value John and Sheena’s contribution so much that we nominated them for the Unsung Heroes Award. We are so glad that they were shortlisted. They were narrowly pipped at the post!”

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