Shonagh Milne, activities co-ordinator at Haylodge Hospital, was recently awarded the Chair’s Commendation at the NHS Borders Celebrating Excellence awards. Peeblesshire News reporter Hilary Scott met with Haylodge’s very own fairy godmother who is making dreams come true.

A stint in hospital isn’t most folks’ idea of a good time. It can for some feel like Groundhog Day, with little to do but stare at the walls or television until the next meal, ward round or visiting hour.

But within this small Peebles hospital is a modern day Florence Nightingale who knows how to get the party started.

As previously featured in the Peeblesshire News, Big-hearted Shonagh granted the dying wish of Lorna Holness, who wanted to go to St Mary’s Loch with her family.

Due to Lorna’s failing health and mobility, the family couldn’t take her by car and Shonagh stepped in to organise transport.

Before Lorna passed away she told the Peeblesshire News that the carer was “a wee gem with a heart of gold” for granting her final wish.

From poignant memories to joyous celebration, Shonagh has brought tears of joy and happiness to the patients at Haylodge.

When Prince Harry wed Meghan Markle in May last year there were celebrations across the nation. And patients from Haylodge made sure they were dressed suitably for the royal occasion.

Shonagh explained: “I went around the charity shops and they kindly gave me hats to borrow for the patients. Family brought them in nice outfits to wear and Emma from Stems made lovely button holes for them. They had union jack flags and we had bunting up and a buffet. They sat and watched the wedding and it was lovely.”

And when the town’s Beltane Festival comes around this fairy godmother made sure the patients went to their own ball. “We had our own celebrations,” said Shonagh. “Harry who is an employee at the hospital put on a disco and we had red and white décor in the Day Room. The Callants' Club also kindly donated a cake.”

When she’s not organising a good old knees up, Shonagh makes sure the patients get visitors – but not of the human kind!

“We’ve had the Alpacas here twice and that was great. There was an elderly gentleman in at the time who was a farmer and was crying. It’s really touching to see tears of happiness and makes it all worthwhile.”

Speaking of her award, Shonagh said she wasn’t shortlisted in any of the categories but was asked to go along to the ceremony. “I was completely shocked but absolutely delighted to receive the award. What I do doesn’t feel like a job, I absolutely love it.”

There is never a dull moment at Haylodge with social butterfly Shonagh, who arranges bands to come in and entertain, pony visits, tea parties, pamper days, movie Mondays, chair yoga – the list goes on.

And every Friday, she tells me, it’s simply a day of putting on the kettle and enjoying a cuppa with the patients whilst reading the Peeblesshire News.

But this week they will be reading an extraordinary story about an extra special lady close to their hearts, who not only grants the wishes of Haylodge patients, she has discovered the cure for mundane hospital life.