Staff at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill have said goodbye to a kind-hearted couple who between them clocked up no less than 44 years of volunteering there.

From 1992 onwards, David and Margaret Jones gave up thousands of hours of their time helping staff, patients and visitors.

Over the years, the couple worked in a range of departments at the hospital, which is run by Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, including the audiology, admissions and discharge departments, and on the information desk.

David, a former accountant, said: “I retired early and had spare time and a friend suggested volunteering at the hospital.”

He said: “My favourite job was on the information desk. You never knew what you were going to be asked and it was always a pleasure trying to help people.”

Margaret added: “A smile and a kind word mean a lot to people, especially if they are feeling nervous. “I have really enjoyed working with all the staff as well. They are so friendly and professional.” The couple are moving to Kent this summer.

Maris Codling, the Trust’s voluntary services manager, said: “David and Margaret are an excellent example of the kind of wonderful volunteers that we have at East Surrey Hospital. “Their dedication and reliability is only surpassed by their generosity and great sense of humour.

“I, amongst many in the Trust, will really miss them, but we all wish them good health and happiness in their new home.”