Tea lady at Sheffield hospital hailed as unsung hero of the NHS

A tea lady at a Sheffield hospital has won her moment in the spotlight thanks to a funny but moving letter which brings a lump (or two) to the throat.

Thursday, 19th January 2017, 6:25 am
Updated Thursday, 19th January 2017, 6:31 am
Sam Cleasby said the friendly tea lady at Northern General Hospital made her feel more at home

Sam Cleasby, who chronicles her struggles with inflammatory bowel disease on the blog So Bad Ass, penned an open letter to the tea lady at the city's Northern General Hospital.

The missive, addressed 'Dear tea lady', thanks the woman for brightening up Sam's stays and always remembering her name, while apologising for letting her moniker slip from her mind.

Since writing the letter, Sam has learned the tea lady's name is Marina

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Sam describes the unnamed lady as 'one of the most important people in my recovery', and jokingly blames the drugs for her memory lapse.

The 35-year-old charity worker, from Kiveton, describes how she is lucky enough to have benefited from the 'wonderful care' of everyone from top surgeons and consultants to the support workers holding the NHS together over the last year.

But the mum-of-three praises the tea lady as the unsung hero who 'made me feel so much better every day' by taking the time to remember her name and more importantly how she takes her tea.

"You made me feel special. When you spend a lot of time in hospital, you very quickly become institutionalised, and it's so easy to end up feeling like a number," she writes.

Since writing the letter, Sam has learned the tea lady's name is Marina

"But you made me feel like a person, a person who likes their tea strong, yet milky and with one sugar."

Sam thanks the tea lady for remaining a comforting constant during her frequent hospital stays, with nurses changing shifts and doctors only appearing 'when something goes wrong', before asking the woman if she realises how important her role is.

"Tea Lady, you are awesome. (And I'm really sorry that I can't remember your name)," the letter concludes.

Sam said she has spent a lot of time in hospital over the last three years and wanted to say a big thank you to everyone there, but one lady in particular.

"The NHS gets such a hard time I wanted to write something to say how every member of staff makes a difference to patients, even down to the support staff and cleaners," she said.

She added that the feedback had been fantastic and she had now learned the tea lady's name, which is Marina, though she has yet to get the chance to thank her in person.