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National Carers Awards 2015
The 2015 Winners
Following your nominations, five people from around the country were chosen as winners of the inaugural National Carers Awards in 2015. After nominations from family members and close friends, their moving stories were picked from hundreds of entries.
As well as the carers, there was another award, LloydsPharmacy Caring Colleague of the Year. The worthy winner was Northampton pharmacist Amir Ismail, who was nominated by an appreciative patient with Parkinson’s Disease.
LloydsPharmacy launched the awards in 2014, teaming up with Carers UK, to pay tribute to unsung heroes and raise awareness of the millions of unpaid carers across the UK.
Hartlepool student Ely King, aged only 16, cared for her mum Donna through most of her childhood and teenage years – it’s second nature to Ely. She has helped her mum fight breast cancer and cope with other conditions, including osteoarthritis.
Ely was nominated by her mum. Sacrificing much of her teenage life, while friends were out socialising, Ely was at home with Donna, cooking and cleaning and supporting her mum, while keeping on top of her studies. Ely is now at college and hopes to go on to university. Ely took her mum to the awards gala.
Ben Hawley, 70, from Hartlepool, has cared for his wife Janet, 68, who was diagnosed with vascular dementia five years ago. They have been married for 48 years and went side-by-side at the awards ceremony.
Mr Hawley also helps other people with dementia and their carers. He was nominated by the Singing for Brain music group. He organises outings to concerts, seaside trips and meals out for the group.
Geoff Kingsford, from Gillingham, has dedicated his life to his wife Jane, who has mild cerebral palsy, and her three children, who have special needs. He gave up his security job to look after them when they met 15 years ago.
Geoff, who was nominated by Jane, was ecstatic to win and praised the awards for raising awareness of the army of unpaid carers and the commitment they make on a daily basis.
Ellen Davis, 53, has cared for her husband of 35 years, Chris, 54, since an accident at work left him in a wheelchair 16 years ago. The accident caused reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a clinical syndrome causing extreme pain.
Their daughter Anna Davis, 34, nominated Ellen and went with her to the gala. Ellen also cared for her 83-year-old mother when she developed Alzheimer’s.
Sara O’Reilly, 58, from Andover, has been caring for her husband, Eddie, 72, for 15 years since he developed several illnesses, including vascular dementia. She simply says that she does it because she loves him and copes by holding on to the fact that what Eddie sometimes says and does is not him – it’s the illness.
Sara was nominated by her daughter, Sara Martin, 34, who went with her to the ceremony.
LloydsPharmacy Caring Colleague of the Year
Pharmacist Amir Ismail was nominated by a patient with Parkinson’s Disease for his continuous and valued support. The patient says he goes that extra mile to help, gives “caring and sensible” advice and is also a great support to the family.
Amir manages Weston Favell LloydsPharmacy in Northampton and lives in Bedfordshire. He says: “Being able to help people on a daily basis is why I come to work. I’m probably more empathetic to patients and carers because I have first-hand experience of being a carer myself.”