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Cardiac volunteer carries Olympic Torch

Jack Besford, 75 was one of the official Olympic torch bearers to help the torch on its journey through the north east and completed his leg in Barnard Castle. Jack has been volunteering with the cardiac rehabilitation service at UHND for 14 years. He makes a huge commitment to the team supporting them four times a week and has become a mentor for patients coming through the service. 

Denise Greenwell, cardiac rehab manager said: "Jack is a wonderful man. He is such a big help to the service and we think the world of him. We decided that nominating him to carry the Olympic torch would be a nice way of showing him how much he has come to mean to us. We were so proud to see him with the torch, he really deserves it and it was the least we could do!"

After sadly losing his wife, Jack suffered a heart attack and accessed the service as a patient. He said: "It is such a great service that I really wanted to offer what support I could. The staff are excellent but having someone there who has actually had a heart attack is a real benefit to the patients, I've been through it and I know what it's like. I can help build their confidence back up as I know that they are worrying about having another one.

"I never thought I would make it through to carry the torch after the team nominated me so I was blown away when I was chosen. I was quite nervous on the day but it was an honour to carry it and to represent the hospital."

Published: 27 June 2012

'In recent times, I have utilised admissions to Richardson for respite direct from my fracture clinic, even at weekends. I have never worked anywhere with this efficiency before - it is reassuring and invaluable for the patient.'

Patient, Lowson / Starling Wards, Richardson Hospital