When Chan Wai-hung joined Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 1994, the atmosphere among his fellow employees was as cool and sterile as the white walls and uniforms. Despite being naturally shy, he thought he could do something to promote a change and found the solution in a combination of encouraging people to care more for each other and take part in sport. 'I am not good at talking and I did not like to talk,' the 58-year-old said, noting that his colleagues seemed to feel the same. 'They were cold and alienated. They did not talk at all. Some people hurried home immediately after work, with nothing else to engage themselves in.' But he noticed that there were others who seemed to have a desire to build stronger bonds. So, in his leisure time, Chan started organising activities, such as starting a marathon team, joining Oxfam's annual Trailwalker and initiating hiking trips. He is also known in the hospital as a 'heart healer' because he joined a working group that provided counselling and emotional support to hospital staff. In recognition of his achievement outside the wards, he was given the Hospital Authority's Outstanding Staff Award this year. A workman in the hospital's pre-admission department, Chan's duties included delivering documents, such as X-ray films, to various departments. That was when he noticed that many colleagues shared his hobbies, such as hiking and running. Chan said he had counselled a number of colleagues during the three years he volunteered for the emotional support working group but cannot share the case details because of privacy concerns. But some cases were related to work stress, others involved the death of family members. Chan said by helping others, he had also helped himself. 'I was a shy person, but after I took up volunteering, I became an active member of the hospital.'