Category: UK

Post relating to the British Red Cross in the United Kingdom

After her partner’s death, Sarah helps others cope with bereavement

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Someone holds a photo of Sarah and her partner Graham with leaflets from Cruse Bereavement Care behind it on a table

Sarah and Graham

When Sarah Sweeney’s partner Graham died suddenly while they were on holiday, she was plunged into terrible grief. Now, she plans to use her experience to help others who feel alone after the death of a loved one.

“I lost my partner, Graham, five months ago while we were on holiday,” Sarah said.

“It was completely unexpected. ‘Devastation’ doesn’t even come close, there just aren’t the words to really explain or understand this.

“He was 52 years old and I am 53. We were so active, young at heart, sporty and adventurous. We lived life to the max. We thought we had the rest of lives ahead of us.”

Sarah suddenly had to learn to live without Graham.

From being an outgoing person who planned to spend the rest of her life with the man she loved, Sarah began to dread the weekends. This was the time they used to spend together.

“The death of my partner has changed me,” Sarah said. “Many of the things that I used to do without even thinking about it – cycling, going to the gym, going out for dinner or to the local coffee shop – I avoided.

“It is so easy to become completely isolated.”

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‘Knowing first aid helped me save a motorcyclist’s life’

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Helen Cowen used her first aid skills to save the life of a motorcyclist who crashed outside her home.

Not everyone could handle the sight of a bloodied motorcyclist with a badly severed leg. Helen Cowan could, and her first aid knowledge saved a man’s life.

“I had decided to sit in the garden one evening when I heard a loud crash,” Helen said.

“At first I thought something had fallen from our recently renovated house. But as I walked to the front of the house, I could see a small crowd gathered on the pavement outside.”

The scene outside her house was upsetting.

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David’s story: why immigration detention needs to change

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“I left Kenya because I was fleeing not only persecution but unjust abuses. It’s still happening now. It’s even worse.”

Before he left Kenya, David worked for the Kenyan Election Board. “I was being forced to do illegal activities… to steal the election,” he said.

David was attacked and stabbed when he was still in Kenya. Later, his former manager was murdered.

He is also gay and spoke out for the rights of the LGBT+ community while in Kenya. But homosexuality is illegal there.

“People are assaulted in gay prides,” David said. “People have to wear masks.”

David is now claiming asylum in the UK. If the Home Office decides that his case is strong enough, he will be allowed to live in Britain as a refugee.

Like many people in his position, David has to report to the Home Office regularly.

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Birthday presents for the NHS at 70

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An elderly woman and a young woman kiss each other on the cheek and exchange flowers and a wrapped present

We wish the NHS a very happy birthday . Photo © Eva Katalin Kondoros

Mike Adamson is chief executive of the British Red Cross

As the NHS turns 70, over the next month a lot of people will be talking about its health, now and for the future.

There will be calls for sweeping changes.

Some will gaze into a future of technology and innovation. Others will say we should get back to basics.

But really, it’s much more complicated than that.

Of course it is. Even when we celebrated the birth of the NHS in 1948, the Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan at the time sounded a note of caution.

He warned that there would be “no miraculous removal of our more serious shortages of nurses and others and of modern re-planned buildings and equipment…”

These words of seven decades past have a very modern ring.

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Royal Weddings, Winston Churchill and me

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A plate of cupcakes with brightly coloured icing and decorations, including a picture of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle for the royal wedding

© Sunlight Photography/istock

The British Red Cross has played a special part in many Royal Weddings. The celebrations for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are no exception. As we get ready for 19 May, peek down the aisle back to the 1960s and hear from the people who were there…

TV’s first Royal Wedding: 1960

The first Royal Wedding to be televised was in May 1960. More than 20 million people tuned in to watch the black and white images of Princess Margaret marrying Antony Armstrong-Jones.

The Red Cross’s Mrs S.H. McFadyen had a ringside seat in Westminster Abbey. She described the vivid colours of the ceremony for a Red Cross magazine.

“H.M. The Queen’s long dress was of vivid blue, that of the Queen Mother was gold lace with a mass of fawn ospreys on her hat.”

Princess Margaret “was in every meaning of the word a Fairy Tale bride, her dress so simple, and her veil off her face. The Duke of Edinburgh talked to her all the way up the aisle.”

Guests included Sir Winston Churchill, who “looked frail, but he was there.”

Mrs McFadyen also described the striking outfits on display in the abbey.

“Some of the hats of the guests had to be seen to be believed, and it was a wonderful sight to see the most gorgeous sari, from India, and the gay costumes worn by representatives of distant lands.”

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First aid and fairytales: 92 years with Queen Elizabeth II

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The Queen visits a TB patient

As our Patron Her Majesty the Queen celebrates her 92nd birthday, take a peek at some of the quirky moments we’ve shared.

At a meeting on 11 June 1926, the British Red Cross council sent “hearty congratulations to the Chairman [Duke of York] on the birth of a Royal Princess.”

That little princess, Elizabeth, would grow up to have a long connection to the British Red Cross.

On 20 November 1947, Red Cross first aid teams helped the crowds during the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip. Volunteers lined the route from St James’s Palace to Buckingham Palace, treating 324 casualties. More

When volunteers become friends: why helping at a Red Cross shop can be more than just a job

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Deborah Simpson-Boston stands with a wooden fence and blue sky behind her

Deborah Simpson-Boston, manager of the Red Cross shop in Shoreham-on-sea © British Red Cross

From mothers and sons to fashionistas – volunteering in a British Red Cross shop is something anyone can do.

Whether you have several afternoons a week to spare, or just a few hours at the weekend, we can use your help.

But for a volunteer and shop manager, working at one of our shops meant even more than just giving their time to a valuable cause.

Deborah Simpson-Boston is 44 and originally from Durham. She became a volunteer at the Red Cross shop in Shoreham-by-Sea in 2015 as a way of helping her manage stress and anxiety.

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