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Giving Back To Our Heroes - Read Our Winners' Stories

As a token of our appreciation for our heroic emergency workers, we recently ran a comeptition offering 100 complimentary luxury staycations at sea onboard the newly revitalised Celebrity Silhouette® this summer!

The last year has been challenging for all, but none more so than our incredible emergency workers who have donned their hero capes on a daily basis, inspiring us through this unprecedented time. As life slowly turns towards a new normal, and we begin to embrace a return to the seas, we want to take a moment to celebrate and honour all these astonishing people, by offering some escapism, some well-deserved “me time” to enjoy with friends and family onboard our beautiful ship from Southampton this summer.

Now we're delighted to share some of their inspirational stories. 

 

''I have been working as a Covid 19 vaccinator since February 2021...

 It is so rewarding doing something so worthwhile to get the country back on track again. It is so inspiring to meet so many people excited and enthusiastic to get vaccinated. It is well worth returning from retirement for.''

- Brian H, Vaccinator

''My wife and mother of our now 3 year old son died 2 years ago from breast cancer....

 It's been a massive struggle and Covid has added to our isolation. Alys and I married on 26 May 2019 in the hospice where she died 6 days later. She was just 40 years old. 

Nevertheless, throughout all of this I have been an active crew member of Whitstable RNLI (volunteer) and have been instrumental in saving a number of lives throughout both Alys' illness and Covid. I currently also volunteer for Canterbury Food Bank when our son is at nursery.''

- Michael C, RNLI Crew

''My name is Patrick, I am a volunteer police officer...

 I volunteer 45 hours a month on top of my normal day job. I have spent this pandemic volunteering my services as the police service has been very stretched and many of my police colleagues have been diagnosed with COVID 19. People ask me why I give up my time and risk getting infected myself.

The reason I do this for no pay is that even during a pandemic the world doesn't stop and people with mental health have increased so much, most of the calls I go to are mental health issues. People need help and I am proud to say I help my community, it is not an easy job, I constantly get abuse both physical and verbal. The fact that I know I'm helping people with mental health issues make it all worthwhile,  this world is a hard place and I feel that I play a small part in making it a slightly better place.''

- Patrick H, Special Police Constable

''Working in the emergency department during the pandemic has been one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences of my life to date...

I'm a Consultant in Emergency Medicine. Alongside my work family, I've had the honour of caring for the sickest patients, providing life saving treatment and helping to comfort them when their families couldn't be there. Personally, it gave my husband and I the privilege of having my nurse colleague, now close friend, come live with us. She is a mother to four boys, one of whom has a serious chest condition. If he caught covid he would likely not survive. She took the brave decision to move out of the family home for three months to protect her son.

We also had a vulnerable lady from our church with us during this time due to an unsafe housing situation. She lost her job during the pandemic, so would have been unable to pay rent. Again my husband and I were fortunate enough to be able to keep her under our roof for a few extra months.''

- Pamela G, Doctor

''I'm nominating my husband to be Eric...

He has been a retained firefighter for 24 years. He has worked so hard in this pandemic. He has a full time job working nights for a delivery company and has been working 12 hour shifts throughout the whole pandemic and then during the day has been working for the fire service. He wasn't entitled to an early vaccination so has been doing all this unvaccinated until recently when his age group was called. We also had our wedding cancelled back in September and are due to get married this year so this would be an amazing time to relax for him.''

- Eric T, Retained Firefighter

''I have been in the travel industry for 24 years. After Covid hit and I was furloughed from British Airways, I decided I needed to do something to help...

So I got a job at Tesco shopping for people who couldn’t leave the house. I worked 2am till 8am most days after 10 months the opportunity came to apply for the Ambulance Service and I knew my skills onboard planes with emergencies would really help. I have worked for months helping people in their worst moments keeping them calm and giving lifesaving instructions over the phone. I love this job as much as my previous career in travel. There is something about wanting to help people in both careers which just inspires you.''

- Clare G, 999 Ambulance EMD

''When Covid first hit I had my own aesthetics business and all was well then I had to close over night...

I decided to go back straight away to help in the hospital and in the local nursing home to help with care and the drug rounds because the sickness levels were so high with the staff. Then I noticed that the levels of domestic violence were on the increase. With my experience and expertise, I knew I could help these victims, so I gave up my time and my products to treat the victims. I have treated scars, bruises and just became a good listener in the safe houses.

I am now honoured to be up for ‘Inspirational Person of the Year’ and ‘Best Aesthetics Nurse of the Year’ in a prestigious award in London. I look at it as if I could help in a small way I would. I would love to win the break more for my elderly mother than me as she has isolated for over the last 12 months.''

 - Clare S, Aesthetics Nurse

''Throughout the pandemic many babies have been born...

I returned to clinical practice at the beginning of the pandemic and cared for many women including one, infected with COVID-19, during the birth of her precious twins by caesarean section. The woman entered theatre surrounded by staff in high level PPE without her partners support. Her fear and apprehension were obvious, but among calm, kind staff,
two healthy babies were born. Many photos were taken so family and friends could know all were truly well.

Once in recovery the usual post operative care was interrupted in the most wonderful way. The mother was assisted to make video contact with her family and the shrieks of joy from her other children at home filled the room as they saw their new siblings. Those joyous shrieks were wonderful to hear, a privilege to share and confirmed the role of the midwife not only to bring new life safety into the world, but to make every pandemic birth as special and joyous as possible.''

- Julia S, Midwife

''I worked tirelessly with a fantastic staff group worked throughout the Covid 19 pandemic

caring and supporting not only for 57 elderly and vulnerable people but also their families and loved ones. We ensured our clients kept in touch with family members through telephone and FaceTime as communication was the key to keep their spirits up. We went above and beyond to ensure our clients felt safe and secure and we strived to keep life as normal as possible in this uncertain time.

We supported many of our clients with dementia who were finding it extremely difficult to cope with the situation, so to overcome this staff became surrogate family members ensuring life was as close to normal as we could possibly make it. We also had to deal with the unfortunate situation I think all the emergency services find and that is bereavement, which we dealt with dignity, respect and empathy. We worked tirelessly everyday but always with a smile and a kind word.''

- Lisa C, Manager Retirement Housing

''Hilary worked nursing for the sickest of the Covid patients...

She cared for those who sadly had to be ventilated, many of whom didn't survive. He role involved also assisting with the sickest of patients on all the wards within the hospital. This involved many 12.5hr shifts wearing full PPE. She even contracted Covid over the Christmas period, unfortunately also giving it to her husband. Instead of being bitter about this, she empathised with sufferers. Hilary is not a young nurse, yet gave her all to caring for those during the pandemic, as she has done since her young days as a nurse.

Her wedding celebrations were cancelled in March 2020 as she was due to celebrate her wedding with her friends in Madeira, but sadly Madeira went into lockdown the night before we were all due to fly out. She married in a a registrar's office but has not been able to celebrate. This would be an amazing chance for her and her husband to have the wedding celebration they so deserve.''

 

- Hilary G, Intensive Care Outreach Sister 

''Me and my partner are both NHS pharmacists...

We were being deployed to support other health services due to the stress and uncertainty brought by Covid. Unfortunately, we caught Covid in April 2020, there had been days our symptoms were quite severe that my partner required medical attention. Luckily, we both recovered from it. Last year during various lockdowns and Covid peaks, I have been helping out with GP practices’ workloads, delivering Covid vaccinations to the public. I have also been supporting the Covid virtual ward, for high risk patients who tested positive for Covid, to monitor them remotely at home and make daily phone calls to check the patients' wellbeing then refer to emergency services as needed.

With travel restrictions in place, I couldn't attend my grandad's funeral back home. I hope he is looking at me from far away and feeling very proud of his only grandchild of how I support the NHS and the public during this difficult time.''

- Hoi NG, Pharmacist

''I have been nursing for over 30 years, first in the NHS where I was a sister in A&E and more recently as a nurse in the RAF...

During the recent COVID pandemic, I received a commendation from my Chain of Command for my work. A sample from the citation reads "Exemplary in all regards during the COVID Crisis. Fortune has been and remains the fundamental subject matter expert at RAF Brize Norton. Her abilities in role have provided timely, attentive and remarkable work that has enabled the station to maintain all operational output, whilst working within the constraints that national bodies and the government have put in place. In the early part of the crisis she was proactive with PHE regarding the complex issues surrounding the Wuhan flights, as well as visiting aircrew from partner nations in NATO. Commendation should be particularly directed toward her welfare focus, not only regarding the staff that work for her and around her, but across the station and wider in defence."

- Andrea F, Nurse Royal Air Force