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:

Men and loneliness: “I miss my wife a great deal… I just miss having company”

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Sarah-Jane with Desmond Gregory

The Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness has released new research showing that millions of men are experiencing loneliness but suffering in silence – men like Desmond Gregory.

When Desmond’s wife passed away in 2015, his world fell apart. After nearly 60 years of marriage, the 89-year-old from Midsomer Norton, in Somerset, was suddenly alone.

Despite his daughter visiting regularly, his grief was overwhelming and he began to feel increasingly lonely.

“Some days I didn’t see anyone at all. I miss my wife a great deal. I miss going to work. I just miss having company,” Desmond said.

Fortunately his health worker spotted the signs and was able to introduce him to the British Red Cross – we offer services for those experiencing loneliness and social isolation.

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Gardening pro: first aid tips for those with green fingers

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Female gardener with her potted plantsWhether your pride and joy is a hydrangea plant or rose tree, if you have green fingers you’ll be welcoming the better weather in your much-loved garden.

The nature of gardening tools and prickly plants means sometimes people accidentally get hurt. But learning a little first aid doesn’t hurt at all.

Here are our top first aid tips for gardeners.

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Why runners should learn first aid

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Red Cross staff and volunteers pose for a photo. They provide first aid during the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon

If you’re taking part in a sporting event this year, you might meet someone like Andy Owen. He’s an event first aid volunteer for the British Red Cross.

Every year, Red Cross staff and volunteers like Andy help out at lots of different events, including sporting ones. So, they know a thing or two about sports injuries.

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Older people and loneliness: five things you need to know

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A Red Cross volunteer provides support to an older personThe hidden epidemic of loneliness is often associated with older people. And while a survey released today showed that over half of Gransnet users who feel lonely have never talked about it, there’s more to understand.

Here are five things you need to know about loneliness and older people in the UK.

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Beating loneliness: “I finally felt like I was getting to grips with things”

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Philip Mead standing in his garden

Things went from bad to worse for Philip Mead after his wife Val passed away. He missed her greatly and began having flashbacks of her death. Then he was involved in an accident that wrote off his car, leaving him completely isolated. But with a little help from the British Red Cross, Phil started to build up his life again.

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Overcome the bystander effect

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A woman approaches a man sat down in the street to see if he is ok

Have you ever seen someone collapsed on the side of the road but walked on by? Or ignored a person who’s fallen over? Maybe when you got home you thought, ‘I really should have done something’. This is the “bystander effect”. But don’t despair: by reading this you’re on track to never walk on by again.

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Home from hospital: “Breaking my hip was the best thing that happened to me”

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Carol Looby

Carol Looby is now a volunteer for the British Red Cross, helping others through one of our home from hospital services.

Four years ago, Carol Looby passed out while walking home after giving blood. She broke her hip – but says it’s the best thing that ever happened to her.

That’s because Carol’s accident led her to a British Red Cross home from hospital service. We not only helped with her recovery, but became a new venture for her too – Carol now volunteers for the service.

“It’s changed my life totally,” she said.

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