Butterfly Volunteer teams visit patients in hospitals who are in the last days and hours of their life, and provide support for them and their loved ones.

The volunteers provide compassionate listening, comfort and companionship for patients in the last few days and hours of life, many of whom have few or no visitors, and would otherwise be alone.

During 2016 Liz set up and ran an award winning team of Butterfly Volunteers at East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, and quickly realised the impact that this simple, effective scheme had on so many people.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone who dies in a UK hospital has someone to speak to, and someone to hold their hand, as they face their final days.


Our Timeline

January 2010

Liz Pryor’s mother, Anne Robson, is admitted to hospital. After being discharged only a few days later, Anne dies unexpectedly. The West Suffolk Coroner opens an inquest enquiry into her death.

August 2010

The Patients Association offered to include Anne Robson’s story in their 2010 Campaign – Listening to Patients, Speaking up for Change and Liz becomes their Media Spokesperson

December 2010

As interest grows around her mother’s story, Liz was interviewed by BBC News, BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, BBC 3 Counties Radio, ITV News, The Daily Mail, BOB Radio, Radio 5 Live.

March 2011

Liz starts working with Jill Fraser, founder of charity Kissing It Better, to set up a project to improve care for the eldery at East & North Herts NHS Trust.

September 2011

Soon Liz and Jill are expanding the scheme to a further 4 hospital trusts: West Herts NHS Trust, Watford, Northwick Park, Harrow, North Middlesex Hospital, and Whipps Cross Hospital.

July 2015

Liz joins East & North Herts NHS Trust becoming the Patient Experience Project Lead.

January 2016

Liz is tasked with recruiting a team of volunteers to support patients in the last days and hours of their life. These volunteers were to become known as Butterfly Volunteers.

September 2016

The Butterfly Volunteers team won the East & North Herts NHS Trust 2016 Celebration of Excellence Patient Experience Award

January 2017

After the contract with East & North Herts NHS Trust ends, Liz embarks on setting up teams of Butterfly Volunteers in hospitals across the UK. working with Doncaster & Bassetlaw NHS Trust to help them recruit a team.

July 2017

Liz joined by Jo Corscaden, later to become Director of Care, to expand the scheme.

October 2017

The Anne Robson Trust is born.

November 2017

Board of Trustees is formed and Patrons recruited.

The Anne Robson Trust applies to the Charity Commission for charitable status.

January 2018

18 Butterfly Volunteers, trustees, and senior members of staff from The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow are trained in preparation for the latest Butterfly Volunteer scheme, visiting patients almost immediately.

May 2018

The Anne Robson Trust  receives the eagerly anticipated registered charity number: 1178352 from The Charity Commission.

September 2018

The Anne Robson Trust is featured on You & Yours, on BBC Radio

October 2018

The Norfolk & Norwich NHS Foundation Trust become our second partner hospital

November 2018

The Anne Robson Trust are winners of the FAB NHS Stuff Picalilley Award 2018

December 2018

The team at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust have undertaken 1300 visits to 450 patients, spending over 700 hours by the bedside

December 2018

The Anne Robson Trust are runners up in the Directory of Social Change Everyday Impact Awards 2018

December 2018

The Anne Robson Trust is featured in The Daily Mail, and The Daily Mail Online

January 2019

Nicki Harris, Butterfly Volunteer Coordinator at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust, starts in her role

February 2019

Emma Taylor, Butterfly Volunteer Coordinator at the Norfolk & Norwich NHS Foundation Trust, starts in her role

“The Butterfly Volunteer service is a truly inspirational example of how compassion and caring can make a significant difference to both the patient and their family at such a distressing time”

Senior Staff Nurse at The Princess Alexandra Hospital, NHS Trust