WSSC Alumni Keyworker Heroes
Monday 18th May 2020

This week we have two rounds of recognition for Wickersley Schools Alumni who are supporting us as a community and people throughout the country as keyworkers on the front line, fighting this pandemic.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our article so far, check back on Friday for our next installment!

If you missed out on last week’s keyworkers take a look at the article here.

Laura Mancini

Laura Mancini and her family are helping out in our community in lots of different ways.

I (Laura) left in 2004, since leaving Wickersley I have done several retail and secretarial jobs but after caring for my mum from a young age I was drawn back into care and now have my BTEC Diploma, level 3 in Health and Social care and am a Care Giver for a domiciliary care company in Rotherham supporting the elderly in all areas of Rotherham.

Sarah Sims, she left in 1993 and has worked her way up to managing a nursery in Rawmarsh after managing various other nurseries in Rotherham and Sheffield including a forestry nursery in Sheffield.

Chris Sims, he left 1998, he has done many jobs including for a short period of time coaching the under 16’s for Doncaster Rovers but has settled now into becoming a bus driver for Arriva in Loughborough.”

Natasha Cashmore

I’m a community nurse working in Barnsley, I left Wickersley in 2003. We deliver care in people’s home ranging from wound care, medication, hospital avoidance and end of life care.

I’ve been qualified for nearly 7 years but been in the NHS for 11 years (I started as a health care support worker).

I speak openly and honestly about mental health struggles and advocate that it’s OK not to be OK. This is based on my own experiences of dealing with anxiety and depression, made worse by the death of my own daughter. However, I am here to tell the tale and even though I may have some bad days from time to time I have some amazing family and friends who support me.

I recently took part in raising money for charity by doing a skydive and planned on doing the Yorkshire three peaks.

I absolutely love my job and although it has its hard times I wouldn’t change it for the world!

Laura Mancini - Care Giver, supporting the elderly in Rotherham
Natasha Cashmore - Community Nurse
Sarah Sims - Nursery Manager, Rawmarsh
Laura Smith - Sister, Rotherham A&E Department
Chris Sims - Arriva Bus Driver
Joanne Palmer - Specialist Nurse, Rotherham Hospital

Laura Smith

My name is Laura Smith (nee Dobbs) and I attended Wickersley Comp 1991-1996.

I am now a Sister in Rotherham Hospital A&E Department. I’m currently working at the very frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic, on a daily basis meeting, treating and helping those suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

The patients I meet are scared, and it is my job and the rest of the team to support them and reassure them.  As staff we are afraid too, afraid we may catch the virus, afraid we may bring it home to our families.

My whole working day has completely changed, uniforms need to be bagged and washed separately, we are expected to carry out our daily duties in full PPE which in truth is hot, uncomfortable and very difficult.

I recently tested positive for COVID-19 and the guilt I felt at bringing this virus to my family was overwhelming. I’m pleased to say after a tough few weeks I’m now recovered and back at work.

The job I do is amazing, happy, sad, difficult. It’s emotionally and physically draining but also incredibly rewarding. I couldn’t get through the day without the amazing team that is UECC and I would like to thank each and every colleague.

We are a great team who I affectionately refer to as ‘my work family’ and couldn’t get through the 12-hour shifts without them!

Joanne Palmer

“I used to attend Wickersley Comprehensive and left in July 2000 after doing my GCSE’s. I embarked on my nurse training in 2003 and qualified to work at Sheffield teaching hospitals where I worked until 2015 before leaving to work at Rotherham hospital! I am usually a busy specialist nurse but at present am back on the frontline to help with the pandemic!”

Abigail Ashworth

“I left Wickersley in 2011 after being a pupil from Year 7-13. I am a qualified Paramedic with Yorkshire Ambulance Service and I have been for the past six
years now, working in the Barnsley area.

Unfortunately, I am off sick at the moment as I have tested positive for Covid-19 but I am recovering well.”

We wish you well Abigail and thank you for everything that you do for the community and the people in crisis who need you.

Liz Adamson

Mrs Mason became friends with Liz Adamson when they started at Wickersley back in 1993 and both competed for solos in their first Year 7 concert (Liz pipping Mrs Mason to the post!). They should have been celebrating Liz’s hen do last weekend and Mrs Mason was due to join Liz in Italy at Spring Bank to celebrate her wedding. Both these events have been postponed for a year as Covid-19 had other plans for this former Wickersley student.

“I’m a doctor specialising in anaesthetics and intensive care working in the Midlands. Due to the current Covid pandemic, I’m based on the intensive care unit at the university hospital of Coventry.
This hospital is a major trauma centre and performs neurosurgery so has a large specialist intensive care unit and has had to make many adaptations to meet the crisis, including the opening of two further intensive care wards within the hospital. My duties include caring for the most seriously ill patients within the hospital and utilising medical equipment to provide organ support. When not in a pandemic I also work in operating theatres and obstetrics as an anaesthetist.

I am proud to be state school educated and of course a Yorkshire lass! I did GCSE’s and A-Levels at Wickersley School and was there from 1993-2000!”

Abigail Ashworth - Paramedic, Yorkshire Ambulance Service
Liz Adamson (centre) - Anaesthetist and Intensive Care, University Hospital of Coventry
Geo Sulej - Relief Support Work, Mencap
Alex Newbould - Ambulance Technician and Dispatcher

Geo Solej

“I left Wickersley in 2016 to go to the University of Lincoln where I become a Support Worker in a mental health hospital. I currently work as a Relief Support Worker for Mencap whilst at home and will be joining Cygnet as a Support Worker at a residential for adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

Currently, working at both Mencap and the residential, the service users I support are unable to attend regular timetabled activities, for example, some go to college with Mencap and others visit activity centres through the day. With all service users having a form of Learning Disability or Autism, they’re used to structure and so it’s been very difficult for some of them to come to terms with not being able to attend their regular classes, influencing their behaviours.

At work, we’ve had to find alternate ideas and activities that we can provide in service. At the moment I’m going to be leading activity sessions for one service to give the service users some sense of routine. As well as not being able to attend activities, other service users have developed great anxiety over the idea of germs or catching the virus, so we’ve had to rationalise and educate service users on the coronavirus.”

Alex Newbould

I was a pupil at Wickersley from 2009 to 2016. After leaving I joined Yorkshire Ambulance as a Dispatcher based at Wakefield Headquarters, after 18 months I decided to change roles and start training to become a Paramedic, starting off as an ambulance technician.

Currently, during the pandemic, I have been seconded back to the control room as a dispatcher and also still working on the frontline as an ambulance technician.”

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