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Volunteer Michael praised for Red Cross support

Mike Oliver volunteering with Red Cross

A volunteer from BAE Systems Submarines who has played a crucial role in the community fight against COVID-19 in South Cumbria has been praised for his work.

Barrow-based Mechanical Designer Michael Oliver was among employees from BAE Systems Submarines, part of the Maritime and Land UK sector of BAE Systems, who gave their time for free to the NHS, with the support of the shipyard.

In March he registered as a Community Reserve Volunteer with the British Red Cross.

“At the time, my partner Kelly was a nurse on the COVID-19 wards at Furness General Hospital and she informed me of how difficult the situation was for people on the frontline of the response and how much pressure they were under,” Michael said: “I wanted to do something to help improve the situation in any way I could and it wasn’t long before the British Red Cross were asking for volunteers from the local community who would be willing to help out.”

Michael, 33 from Ulverston, spoke to his Project Leader and found that BAE Systems was willing to support employees involved with the response. He applied to take some time on Friday mornings helping out in the hospital. He also volunteered in his own time on Saturday mornings.

The work involved delivering provisions to nurses, doctors, midwives and other vital staff within the hospital, ensuring their morale was maintained by providing parcels of food and cosmetics as part of the ‘Salute the NHS’ campaign.

David Taylor, Senior Emergency Response Officer for the British Red Cross in Cumbria, said: “British Red Cross community reserve volunteers like Michael are a network of people ready to help in an emergency, supporting their community by helping provide basic supplies, sharing public health messages and connecting with others safely.”

David added: “We know connected communities are stronger communities and that acts of kindness make a big difference and we want to thank Michael and all our community reserve volunteers for the kindness they have shown and playing their part in helping their local community through an unprecedented global health emergency.”

The campaign was responsible for providing over 300,000 meals to members of the NHS in Furness General Hospital, Westmorland Hospital and Lancaster Royal Infirmary.

Michael said: “The task was incredibly rewarding as staff were always happy to see us and made us feel like a welcome member of the COVID response.

“I couldn’t help but admire the staff’s resolve and resilience in these challenging times. They didn’t complain about the difficulties they faced, they just got on with the job and did everything in the best interests of those in their care.”

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