Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Champion Carer; in Association with BARCLAYS

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Champion Carer; in Association with BARCLAYS

Article excerpt

Gail Walker OVER past seven years, Gail Walker, in the front of the picture, above, from Middlesbrough has worked selflessly as a full-time care support worker for the Alzheimers Society.

Prior to that she volunteered for the charity for 20 years.

The 39-year-old supports about 500 people across Teesside and Darlington, visiting them in their homes and helping run a support group.

Carole Horner, from Norton, and Eileen Meynell, from Billingham, are among those receiving Gail's support.

The pair both nominated Gail for a Gazette Community Champion award, which recognises people who go out of their way to help others.

"Gail is a lifeline to over 300 carers and their loved ones," said Carole, whose husband Norman, 60, suffers from Alzheimers.

"She helps to pick us up off the floor when we are down, finds out things for us and always has a smile and a hug. If the truth be known, Gail will have saved a lot of lives by helping others. We carers all call her our earth angel."

"We all love her very much and for her to get this award would be our way of saying thank you."

Gail, who is single and lives in Middlesbrough, said: "I am very flattered and humbled by the nomination, it's very kind.

"It's a team effort, we all work together and I thoroughly enjoy it."

Olive Spence IN SICKNESS and in health - it's a vow that Olive Spence has always taken very seriously indeed.

When her husband Ronnie developed dementia, 72-year-old Olive knew she would stand by his side, and became his full-time carer.

But she already had another full-time job - looking after her son John, who was left with brain damage in a motorbike crash.

The grandmother from Thornaby has taken care of John virtually every day since his accident in the mid-1970s.

It's pretty rare for Olive, who suffers from arthritis, to get any time to herself.

But somehow she managed to graduate from the University of Teesside with a care-related Certificate of Professional Development at the age of 70 - and is now learning to speak Urdu.

"I'm a recycled teenager really," she said. "I've a busy day every day. I have to keep two diaries.

"People thought because I was used to dealing with John's brain damage, I'd be able to cope with Ron but it's completely different."

Olive's daughter, Julia Young, pictured with Olive, left, nominated her mum.

"She's always helping people. She always puts everyone first and herself last. Everyone who knows her wonders how she copes. I wonder myself," said Julia.

"She always says, 'I always promised to look after your dad'.

"I think we're a very close family. She's been the best mam anyone could have."

Olive Spence IN SICKNESS and in health - it's a vow that Olive Spence has always taken very seriously indeed. …

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