Laura Oakley

Laura Oakley

Laura brings you all the latest stories from the British Red Cross' work across the UK – from emergency response to health and social care – as well as West and Central Africa.

Posts by Laura Oakley:

Football and first aid: ‘I was seconds away from thinking: “This is it”’

By

Ryan Gayler stands holding a football. He performed first aid when two football players collided during a match

Up and down the country, people are buzzing with excitement and anticipation – the football season is back.

And while the professionals battle to climb the league tables, we’re enjoying a kickabout, too. Football is part of the weekly routine for over 1.6 million people in England alone.*

Ryan Gayler manages AFC Vardeanians Football Club in Sussex. When his son organised a last-minute friendly between the players from the club, Ryan turned up to watch. He’d hoped to show off his own footy skills with a few minutes of play time towards the end.

But 20 minutes into the match, a head clash stopped play. Ryan was called upon for a different set of skills – first aid.

More

World Humanitarian Day: meet the people we all rely on

By

Today is World Humanitarian Day. Many aid workers are risking their lives to help people in dangerous places from Syria and Yemen to South Sudan and Afghanistan. Others are volunteering their time and skills to help others in their communities. Join us on a trip around the world to meet the people who are always ready to help in a crisis.

Italy
Italian Red Cross nurse Daniela and her team rescue a group of people stranded in a sinking boat in the Mediterranean.

Italian Red Cross nurse Daniela and her team rescue a group of people stranded in a sinking boat in the Mediterranean. The work on board the rescue boat is relentless as hundreds of people are rescued from the water every day. Aid workers like Daniela ensure people feel safe and protected. (Photo: Jason Florio / MOAS)

More

A runner’s first aid story: ‘I’m proud of what we did that day’

By

A man runs up a hill in a rural locationThe summer of sport continues to thrill with the Rio 2016 Olympics in full swing. It’s enough to inspire even the idlest among us to reach for our trainers and get moving. Here one runner shares his incredible story: 109 marathons, inspiring other runners – and what a difference some first aid skills can make.

Since losing 14 stone, Aaron Howlett has run over 100 marathons. Now he helps others train for their first marathon.

But while out running one day, he faced a different sort of challenge after coming across a woman having a seizure.

Thankfully he knew exactly what to do. Would you?

More

The woman who saved a baby in the supermarket queue

By
Picture of Julie Durrant who saved a baby choking in a supermarket

Image credit: Bob Collier

“I’m not usually the sort of person to push myself forward in a crisis – I’m the sort who would stand back and wait for somebody else to act,” Julie Durrant admits.    

But on the day she saw a baby choke in a supermarket, nobody came to help. So Julie stepped in.

Remembering a British Red Cross post she had recently seen on Facebook, Julie was able to save the baby.

More

A different kind of fire-fighter

By

Andy stood outside his fire damaged house with the two Red Cross volunteers who helped him start the recovery process following a house fire

Watching your home burn can be heart-breaking. As your belongings go up in flames, it can feel like your memories and life are too.  

“You don’t know how you’ll feel until that happens and I don’t want to feel like that again,” said Andy Goodwin.

Earlier on this year, he watched the fire service tackle a blazing fire which engulfed his home in Linden, Gloucester. He and his family had made it out safely thanks to a working smoke alarm.

But standing out in the cold on the street and in their nightclothes, Andy couldn’t focus on what to do next: “I was all at sixes and sevens. I was all over the place.”

Fortunately two British Red Cross volunteers were called upon by the fire service – and they had everything Andy needed at that very moment to cope with this crisis.

More

Slime, mountains and miles: how far would you go to tackle loneliness?

By

co-op_snowdon

Tackling loneliness is no mean feat. It’s a complicated and personal issue which can also carry an unfair degree of stigma. So where to start?

It’s been a year since the British Red Cross first announced we would be working in partnership with Co-op to help tackle loneliness and social isolation. By October, we were ready to get our partnership fully underway.

We started by looking at what we knew about loneliness, what we didn’t, and what we needed to. We involved other experts in this process along with people who have experienced loneliness.

Meanwhile Co-op rounded up its staff, members and customers to unleash what would become an incredible stream of fundraising activity.

And it turns out Co-op’s people are prepared to go pretty far to help tackle these issues.

More

Doing it for mum: Red Cross trainer teaches 6,100 people first aid

By

Red Cross trainer Tracey Waddoups demonstrating an AED on a resusci dummy

Big life events can trigger us to re-evaluate what is important in life. Tracey Waddoups from Derbyshire decided it was time for a change after losing her mum Jean to a heart attack at just 61 years old.

“After losing my mum, I decided that I wanted to do something that I am very passionate about,” Tracey explained.

And it turned out that was first aid. Tracey had always enjoyed learning first aid – but mainly as just a hobby.

Now she was ready to make a career out of it, quitting her comfortable job at an IT engineering company for life as a British Red Cross first aid trainer instead.

But she wasn’t just switching careers. Tracey also set herself a monumental challenge in memory of her late mum – to train 6,100 people in first aid.

And just last week she hit her target.

More