Ivan rolls in for support

GUILDFORD’S Ivan Hamilton had been retired for two years and was, in his words, “bored stupid” when he decided to volunteer at Auburn Hospital in 2000.

Longtime hospital volunteer set up mobile library

Now 79 and volunteering three days a week, his first role involved directing patients with their paperwork, and he noticed many were sitting around with nothing to do.

It was then he came up with the idea of a book and magazine trolley, stocked by donations from staff and patients.

Over the years his brainwave has evolved into two trolleys and a storeroom overflowing with titles thanks to countless donations.

“These days most people are using their phones for entertainment instead,” Ivan said.

“But the magazines and newspapers are still popular, and we have a lot of books to choose from. Some people don’t want to take a book because they won’t have time to finish it, but I just tell them to keep it because I have so many.”

Besides taking around the rolling ‘patient library’, Ivan’s other daily duties include manning the information desk, escorting patients and visitors around the hospital, and fetching wheelchairs from “every nook and cranny” around the hospital.

Now in his 19th year and counting as a volunteer, Ivan believes if you stick with something you get a lot out of it – something he learnt in his career in the metal industry that saw him go from storeman to manager.

“I love helping out here at the hospital; I do a lot of walking so it’s good for the health,” Ivan said.

“I meet different people every day, and have a good chinwag with the patients who don’t have visitors. I enjoy talking so this has been a godsend.”

Ivan has made plenty of friends among the staff and regular visitors, for whom he always has time for a chat.

“I love to help and I think you’ve got to keep moving in life,” he said.

“There’s always something to do and we are always looking for more volunteers here.” To find out more, visit