Leena was a true delight

Leena Smith making the tea at the Macmillan Unit, Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
Leena Smith making the tea at the Macmillan Unit, Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
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SHE was the face of The Gazette’s Best of Health Awards in its first year.

Leena Smith, 91, scooped two top honours in the inaugural awards after winning the hearts of the judges.

She gave just over 40 years as a volunteer with the League of Jewish Women at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, working on a variety of wards over the years.

Leena, who most recently served tea and biscuits and gave support to patients at the Macmillan Windmill Unit, sadly died last month.

Hospital staff have paid tribute to ‘Lee’ as she was affectionately known, who loved being active and was always keen to lend a hand with any tasks which needed doing.

She had been forced to retire from her volunteer work due to ill health last year.

Maria Ronson, oncology specialist nurse at the Macmillan Unit, said: “Leena was an amazing lady.

“She always used to want to do that little bit extra, like bringing extra treats for the patients.

“She had a very good, dry sense of humour and was so witty. The patients loved her.

“Even when the weather was bad, she would always try to come in.

“She enjoyed volunteering and coming here and I think she liked the company.

“Despite her years, she was most certainly on the ball and was a ray of sunshine on a Wednesday afternoon.

“She will absolutely be missed by all.”

Former hotelier Leena had been crowned Unsung Hero at the Gazette’s Best of Health Awards in 2011 and was also given the Judges’ Award – a special award for the person the judges felt had made an outstanding contribution overall.

The deserving grandmother-of-two impressed the judges with the way she put others before herself, and she said her only satisfaction was “seeing patients smile.”

She had broken her hip in the winter of 2009/10, but could not wait to get back on the wards to help others.

She told The Gazette at the time: “I don’t consider what I do to be anything special. There are so many people who do such good work to help others.

“There’s so much unhappiness in the world, it’s nice to see anybody smiling and to be able to help them.

“I like meeting the patients and talking to them and the staff do such a wonderful job.”