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Unsung Hero

We have so many unsung heroes in and around Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner.

This part of the website is dedicated to those who make it an extra special place to live.


Mount Vernon Cancer Centre, Michael Sobell House Hospice

Michael Sobell House (MSH) has more than two hundred volunteers who provide an invaluable service by supporting members of staff and patients.  To narrow it down to just one unsung hero would be an impossible task, but we have selected four volunteers whose contribution offer a great insight to the dedication of the wider team.

Patricia Breibart

Patricia Breibart has been a bereavement counsellor for fourteen years at MSH. During this time she has also acted as one of our home visitors for patients.  In 2008 Pat was registered as blind but despite this, continued to work tirelessly to support the carers of patients who died whilst under the care of MSH. Pat is always cheerful and makes a tremendous difference to those she helps.

The Friday team

Our ‘Friday Team’ is made up of Hazel, Terry and Peter (though they volunteer on different days as well).

Hazel Pike is a unit support worker at MSH and helps the fundraising team. Hazel has been a volunteer at MSH for over 18 years and has barely missed a day since she first started!  She volunteers twice a week but also does a weekly shop for patients, buying them all sorts of delicacies to tease their appetites. Hazel is an influential member when it comes to new volunteers.  She is always happy to help them find their feet and welcome them on board.

Terry Harding is a unit support worker at MSH as well as the cancer centre and a keen helper for fundraising events.  He currently volunteers four days a week.  Terry is our “go-to” man; whenever a new volunteer starts, he makes himself readily available to help the newcomers settle in.  Terry is adored by all members of staff.  He brings such a positive approach and always seems to have the words of wisdom that put visitors and patients at ease.

Peter Tinson volunteers at both MSH and in the chemotherapy suite as a unit support worker whilst also contributing his time for fundraising events – he has even persuaded his granddaughter to perform at the talent show.  Peter has a heart of gold and is a pretty good cook too…  He is best known for his cake baking skills which he makes for both patients and staff.  Patients and visitors see him as joy to have around.

Written by Sue Thaw at the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust



Urszula Gudiens

Urszula Gudiens

Urszula Gudiens is an unsung hero in many ways.

An unsung hero is someone who works selflessly without much or little recognition. I have always known this special lady to give up her time to help others, and help support different causes and fundraisers.

On a local level she has supported senior members of society, by taking them shopping, held manicure evenings, coffee mornings, and been that friend everyone wants.

This unsung hero not only gives up her time, but she offers her strong passion for art and tries to make it accessible for all. Urszula is head of art in a special needs school, and currently is working on a recycled art project. Through her project on recycled art, she has held talks at the Royal Academy of Art, been invited to talk at the Tate Modern, and is currently working on a book. To support local old people homes, Urszula has spent her spare time holding talks and workshops, free of charge.

Urszula has been a strong supporter of Cancer Research UK for many years. This has included volunteering at the local Cancer Research UK shop every Tuesday for the last 12 years, holding endless raffles to support the shop, and having recently raised over £1,700 for a Stand Up To Cancer coffee morning.

This charity support extends to currently organising her 20th annual fashion show for Cancer Research UK; holding raffles for the Dogs Trust; raising money for a local hospital to buy tvs for wards; and having organised annual winter and valentine balls at the extravagant Moor Park Mansion for the last 14 years raising money for various charities including Cancer Reseach UK, Hounds For Heroes, Samaritans.

Urszula has supported and raised money for an orphanage in Poland showing her support does not end at a local or national level.

She is an unsung hero who is always organising or planning her next fundraiser or finding another way to support the local community. The activity outlined is only some of this unsung heroes contribution to helping others.

We are proud to call this committed, powerful, dedicated unsung hero – our Mum.

Hania Gudiens, Northwood



Mr Brian D Whitehead

I have known Brian Whitehead for more than fifteen years. During that time, and even before, he has been unstinting in his work for the community in our Borough.

Following a distinguished career with IBM, during which he held executive positions including responsibility for manufacturing in Europe that involved a three year secondment to their office in Paris, he turned his attention after retirement to voluntary work within the Harrow community.

His outstanding achievement since retiring has been the resurrection thirteen years ago of an ailing local day centre providing support for adults with learning difficulties.  Initially he funded this from his own pocket.

Under his leadership the Welldon Activity Group has developed into an outstanding and favourably priced charitable facility working in the area of social service, the high standards of which have earned the respect not only of Harrow Council but of neighbouring local authorities who readily nominate “clients” to enjoy the varied facilities that are made available. Those facilities range between basic numeracy & literacy education, handicraft & computing skills and horticulture at the premises used by the Group and at an allotment plot further afield.

During my term as Mayor of Harrow in 2008/09 the Welldon Activity Group was my nominated charity. This resulted in the local Swaminarian Temple becoming so impressed with the work being undertaken by Brian, his volunteers and staff that they organised a sponsored walk which raised enough money for them to donate (amongst other equipment) a “people carrier” that has enabled “clients” to be more easily and safely transported to and from their allotment, luncheon club facilities and other suitable places for visits. This was a significant gesture on behalf of the Hindu community who had hitherto confined the proceeds of fund-raising events to their temple.  This generous gesture has further consolidated the warm relationship between the various communities that we are pleased and privileged to experience in our Borough.

I can think of few people more deserving of recognition for their dedicated voluntary service to the community, and in particular to those people of all ethnicities needing the support that the Welldon Activity Group provides.

Written by John Nickolay