Barnsley man dedicates award to his ‘home’ for 93 days

Stuart Steele (second left) wins award from hospital after spending 93 days in intensive care.'He is alongside Andrew Lee (husband of the late Lesley Lee, a former employee of the hospital after whom the award is named); Joe Unsworth (Lead Governor, Barnsley Hospital); Simon Alliott (Vice Chair of Barnsley College, sponsor of the award) and Harry Gration.

Stuart Steele (second left) wins award from hospital after spending 93 days in intensive care.'He is alongside Andrew Lee (husband of the late Lesley Lee, a former employee of the hospital after whom the award is named); Joe Unsworth (Lead Governor, Barnsley Hospital); Simon Alliott (Vice Chair of Barnsley College, sponsor of the award) and Harry Gration.

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A man who spent three months as a patient in intensive care signed up as a hospital volunteer to say thank you - and has now won an award for helping others.

A fall down the stairs at home left Stuart Steele critically ill and needing round-the-clock care - and he spent 93 days on the intensive therapy unit at Barnsley Hospital.

Staff even applauded him off the ward when he finally left to go home after three months.

Now former primary school headteacher Stuart offers his time to support other patients and staff on the unit - and was presented with the Lesley Lee Patient Experience Award at the hospital’s fourth annual HEART Awards.

The 66-year-old, of Silkstone Common, said: “After spending so much time at the unit everybody is a lifelong friend and I wanted to give something back.

“They are absolutely superb and without them I wouldn’t be here.

“When I left they did applaud me off the ward. I wasn’t sure whether it was because they were waving me off or just wanted me to go!

“The award was for them.”

Stuart, former headteacher at Oxspring Primary School near Penistone, fell down stairs at home in July 2011.

The accident left him with a broken sternum, ribs and collarbone, and organ damage.

After three months on the unit he also spent time at Mount Vernon in Worsborough where he learned to walk again with rehabilitation.

Stuart added: “When I went there I couldn’t walk but within six weeks they had me on my feet.”

More than 270 guests attended the awards night to celebrate the hard work and dedication of hospital staff and volunteers.

Nursing staff on the acute stroke unit were presented with the Top Team Award for providing an ‘exceptional level of care’.

The Chairman’s Award went to the acute medical unit, whose staff have coped with changes including the expansion of the unit in the last year, and ‘showed incredible levels of commitment’.

Chairman Stephen Wragg said: “It was an honour to present the unit with my award – it has really stood out for me this year in its dedication to providing the highest quality of patient care.”