NHS staff at Royal Bolton Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit were recently treated to a surprise visitor to lift their spirits after a gruelling shift.
There’s no denying that the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has taken a physical and mental toll on frontline workers up and down the country, but luckily, staff at Royal Bolton Hospital had some emotional support provided by a recent visit from Mason – a Yellow Labrador cross Golden Retriever from Guide Dogs’ Atherton-based training centre.
Due to a lack of confidence when making certain decisions, “gentle dog” Mason sadly wasn’t suitable for becoming a guide dog and is now training for the new role as a buddy dog for a child with a vision impairment instead.
Mason is currently being looked after by Sarah Thornton who, alongside her busy role in the intensive care unit at the hospital, also fosters for Guide Dogs in her free time, and has found that coming home to Mason after stressful and difficult shifts working during the ongoing pandemic has been a real comfort to her.
So, after seeking the relevant permissions, Sarah decided to take Mason into the hospital to let her colleagues have a much-needed cuddle too.
“Staff morale on the critical care wards has been hit hard by COVID.” Sarah said.
“Lots of people have died leaving a big psychological impact on staff wellbeing [so] to be able to take Mason in has been invaluable.
“It’s what the staff really needed”.
Sarah’s colleague Neal Ashurst, who works as an Operating Department Practitioner on the unit, described Mason’s visit as “the best day at work”.
Once restrictions are lifted later in the year, Mason will be able to progress on his journey to becoming a buddy dog and be matched to a child with a vision impairment – but in the meantime, he is making a significant difference to the happiness of many people.
Buddy dogs help children with a vision impairment to enjoy the benefits of having a well-behaved dog. While they are not a mobility aid, they do help to build confidence and lead to better relationships with others, as well as greater wellbeing.
Some children with a vision impairment can lack confidence, which has a knock-on effect to other areas of development, so having a buddy dog by their side can help them to thrive, and children gain a sense of independence by taking responsibility for the care of the dog, completing activities like grooming, and feeding with the help of their family.
Verity De-Winton – Support Dog Lead at Guide Dogs – said: “Buddy dogs help to transform a child’s life.
“Parents report seeing remarkable changes in their children’s confidence and behaviour.
“Children who have previously been shy cannot wait to get out of the house with a buddy dog by their side”.
Featured Image – Guide Dogs
Britain’s ‘biggest ever’ bus driver recruitment campaign launches in Greater Manchester
A massive bus driver recruitment campaign has been launched across Greater Manchester to get ready for the Bee Network.
Only a matter of weeks after the first bright yellow Bee Network buses started hitting streets across the region, with more and more being spotted out and about by locals as the days go on, Go North West has today kicked-off Britain’s biggest-ever recruitment campaign for bus drivers ready for the Greater Manchester public transport service to officially launch later this year.
And you might recognise it’s taken inspiration from a certain 80s cult-classic action film for it.
With the Bee Network set to be rolled-out in September, the transport company – which was selected by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) in late 2022 as the winner of its first two bus contracts – has big plans to hire up to 300 new drivers for its ‘Elite Bus Driver Academy’.
Themed as ‘Be an Elite Driver’, with Maverick and the rest Top Gun team serving as some worthy inspiration, the recruitment campaign sees existing Go North West bus drivers all dressed up in fighter pilot-style uniforms in an attempt to “bring to life the prestige of being a driver” and the different types of careers on offer for people.
The recruitment campaign encourages those interested to become “the best of the best”, to find the thing that “makes them awesome”, and to brace themselves for a career with “wheels…that you’ll steer”.
Open both to existing bus driver licence holders and to those who have never sat behind the wheel of a bus before, applicants will undertake a six-week intensive training programme, and will operate routes across Bolton and Wigan – which are the first two areas to be franchised under TfGM and Mayor Andy Burnham’s new integrated London-style vision for local buses.
Bus driver jobs include 20 days’ annual holiday, generous pensions, and pay rates that quickly increase with experience.
Successful applicants will get to earn themselves upwards of £28,000 per year.
Not only that, but Go North West is also going to be offering longer-term apprenticeships that combine studying with hands-on driving to allow people to “earn while they learn”.
Having quadrupled the size of its training team in anticipation of an influx of new recruits, Go North West says it’s “excited” for this new chapter for bus travel in the region.
Speaking on the recruitment campaign’s launch, Nigel Featham – Managing Director of Go North West – said the company is “very proud” to be delivering these bus services for Greater Manchester, adding: “This is a groundbreaking recruitment campaign to match the huge scale of change that we’ll be helping to deliver in Greater Manchester’s public transport.”
“We’ve already had lots of interest in driving the new Bee Network buses and we’re expecting thousands of applications.”
Once the new contracts are underway, Go North West will operate more than 500 buses from Bolton and Wigan, as well as from its existing Queen’s Road depot in central Manchester – with the company’s facility in Bolton being the largest UK bus depot outside London.
Fancy it then? Find out more about becoming a Bee Network bus driver and apply here.
Featured Image – Go North West
Man dies after collapsing at the summit of Rivington Pike near Bolton
A man has sadly died after suffering cardiac arrest at the summit of one of the North West’s most popular beauty spots over the weekend.
The man, who is said to be in his sixties, collapsed at the summit of Rivington Pike in Chorley, near to Bolton, yesterday morning (Sunday 21 May), and mountain rescue teams, air ambulances, and accompanying emergency services were called to the scene shortly around 8:30am.
Members of the public – including two nurses who happened to be nearby – had started CPR before any emergency services arrived.
But despite everyone’s best efforts, the man was unfortunately pronounced dead at the scene.
Bolton Mountain Rescue Team (MRT) confirmed in a statement shared to social media that its team were contacted at 8:29am by North West Ambulance Service requesting assistance at an incident at Rivington Pike following a 999 call “regarding a male reported to be in cardiac arrest”.
It also confirmed that North West Air Ambulance had too been called to the scene.
“Our first team members and vehicles arrived at 08:53 to meet with the NWAA crew,” Bolton MRT continued in its statement, “Members of the public, including two nurses who happened to be nearby, had started CPR before the arrival of any emergency services.
“Despite the best efforts of all involved, sadly the man died.
“Lancashire Police attended shortly afterwards, as is normal procedure. When initial enquiries were complete, Bolton MRT members conveyed the man to the waiting NWAS ambulance to George’s Lane at the bottom of Rivington Pike.”
Bolton MRT said its thoughts are “with the family and friends of the man who sadly lost his life”.
The team also extended thanks to the “many members of public” out walking who kindly kept away from the scene of this incident”.
A Lancashire Police spokesperson added: “We were called just after 9:20 am this morning by North West Ambulance Service who were responding to a report of a man collapsed in Rivington Country Park.
“Sadly, despite the best efforts of emergency responders and members of the public, a man in his 60s was pronounced dead at the scene.