Brave Harrogate Carer Receives New Award

A carer who battled back after suffering Covid-19 to look after older and vulnerable adults in North Yorkshire is the first recipient of a special new award.

Denise McEvoy, Head of Care Services with Harrogate Neighbours was last night presented with the John Fisher Award at the regional Great British Care Awards in York.

The award was sponsored by care provider organisation the Independent Care Group (ICG) in honour of John Fisher who died from coronavirus last year.

John was founder and Chairman of the Harrogate-based Fisher Care Group and a much-loved member of the ICG.

In March 2020, Denise made the decision to lockdown one of her registered services before the national lockdown.  As Covid lead she reorganised services, navigated round the lack of PPE and supported clients, families and staff.

Then just when it seemed the situation couldn’t get any more challenging, she was struck down by the virus herself and became quite poorly. Her own family was affected too.

But, showing tremendous character, she fought back to health and was soon back to the frontline.

As the residential service was hit by the heartbreak of losing clients to Covid-19, despite being in recovery herself Denise was side by side with families, friends and staff to help and support them.

ICG Chair Mike Padgham said: “Denise is a very worthy winner of the new John Fisher Award.

“She has shown amazing courage and determination to overcome her own battles to keep helping and caring for others and supporting her colleagues.

“She epitomises the amazing self-sacrifice that care workers have shown during the past 16 months in the face of this cruel and indiscriminate pandemic.

“I think John would have recognised Denise’s huge contribution and been delighted that the winner was also from Harrogate – congratulations to her!”

Mr Padgham also paid tribute to Mr Fisher.

“John’s loss to Covid-19 was a tragic one, to his family and friends and to everyone who knew him, including those in the social care sector,” he said.

“He was a warm, friendly, larger than life character who was great fun to be around and who gave a great deal to the care of people.

“His loss was very deeply felt and we were delighted to be able to launch this annual award in his memory on Wednesday. It will recognise a special contribution to social care. John loved the awards and so it is fitting that through this award he will be a part of them again, every year.”

Speaking at the awards, he also thanked all carers for their efforts.

“I am honoured and humbled to be standing here tonight in a room full of heroes,” he told the audience. “A room full of people who have made the greatest sacrifice of all, to put their own safety, their own health, their own life, on the line to care for others.

“From top to bottom in our care settings people have performed miracles. In care and nursing homes, in people’s own homes, in sheltered housing, in day care, across the board you have quite literally shed blood, sweat and tears to look after others.

“We owe you all a huge debt of gratitude and we will never be able to thank you enough!”

  • Some 24 awards were presented, recognising all aspects of the care sector, at a special ceremony at the National Railway Museum in York on Wednesday.

Picture: Denise, centre, receives her award from Mike Padgham, right, and Jenny Fisher, John’s wife, left.

 

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