Bench to commemorate those lost to Covid pandemic unveiled in Shaw
Date published: 01 December 2021
Ward Sister Rachel Diskin (right) and Ward Clerk Alyson Hopkinson (left) – the first people to ‘officially’ sit on the new bench
A specially commissioned bench has been unveiled in the memorial garden in Shaw town centre, dedicated to the memory of those lost to the Covid pandemic in Shaw & Crompton.
The bench, along with a commemorative plaque and the planting of an oak tree was officially revealed by Ward Sister Rachel Diskin and Ward Clerk Alyson Hopkinson from the Royal Oldham Hospital. Both NHS workers continue to treat COVID patients and supported their relatives and friends during the pandemic.
Vice Chair of Shaw & Crompton Parish Council - who funded the memorial - Councillor Hamblett, welcomed the NHS Staff and invited them to be the first people to officially sit on the bench, which affords a direct view of the oak tree and commemorative plaque.
During the ceremony, Sister Diskin recounted her and Alyson’s own experience on the Covid ward and explained how she had recently taken on a role of Professional Nursing Advocate.
"I worked as a Sister through the pandemic. Coming back from maternity leave at the start of February 2020 was a bit of a shock with the impending pandemic. Through the pandemic, we had days where at times we couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but as a team we supported each other and got through it together.
"We were extremely lucky to be supported by the public with donations and well wishes. There were extremely sad days, and despite being professionals, it was hard at times to maintain our emotions within the situation we were faced with. But as well with the sad times, there were extremely happy times; for example when we clapped our patients out when they stepped down to the ward.
"As a team we worked together to not only support each other, but to be a helping hand and a listening ear."
The Chief Nurse and NHS England developed the Professional Nursing Advocate (PNA) role at the start of the year as a consequence of the pandemic. The role is aimed to support nurses by training key staff to be able to facilitate restorative supervision for their colleagues and teams.
Councillor Susan Moore of the Parish Council said: "I was very pleased to support Councillor Richard Marbrow in devising a motion for Shaw and Crompton Parish Council to propose the installation of this bench, the planting of this tree and this event. That was just over twelve months ago in October 2020, when we were all recovering from the shock and trauma of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It is very pleasing that you could make it today, to join us in this act of remembrance, reflection and gratitude. Thank you for coming."
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