Publish date: 26 May 2023

Hexham Hospital unofficial mascot receives special award for services to the community

Hexham General Hospital’s unofficial mascot, Yang Bell, has been awarded by Hexham Town Council with the Freedom to Roam.

On Friday 19 May, a presentation took place to award Yang with Mayor of Hexham, Derek Kennedy, town councillors, Yang’s owner, Glynis Bell and modern matron from Hexham General Hospital, Jane Ferguson.

Yang has been making the ten-minute journey from his home to Hexham General Hospital for over five years and is a firm favourite with staff and the public visiting the hospital.

Jane Ferguson, modern matron at Hexham General Hospital said; “We’re delighted that Yang has been recognised for his services to the community. I’ve worked at Hexham General Hospital for 15 months now and Yang has always been there to provide a friendly face to all visitors of the hospital.

“Sometimes people can feel vulnerable when they visit the hospital and seeing Yang when they enter, and leave can give people huge feelings of comfort.”

The thirteen-year-old ginger cat is no stranger to awards, in 2022 he was given a PDSA commendation for offering a calming presence to visitors at Hexham General Hospital.

Yang received his own engraved key, a certificate and a personalised scrub hat for his services to the community of Hexham Town for over 10 years.

Cllr Suzanne Fairless-Aitken said: “Yang Bell represents the caring community of Hexham Town, and after many years of dedicated service and selfless volunteering Hexham Town Council have awarded him the Freedom to Roam the town with a certificate and engraved key - although maybe it should have been a golden catflap.

"He is absolutely amazing, comforting people and their families attending Hexham Hospital, he just seems to know instinctively who needs him. His purrs and affection are ‘free at the point of use’ as they should be in our NHS. He is a symbol of the caring dedication of all NHS staff, and with them saw our community through the pandemic and hopefully will provide his services for many more years to come."