WONDERFUL Wanda Warrington dedicated her Best Midwife award to the people of Ukraine in a moving acceptance speech at The Sun’s Who Cares Awards.
Grandma Wanda, 56, from Bury, Greater Manchester, took a three month sabbatical from her job to go on a one-woman mission to the war-torn country where she saved countless babies’ lives, while putting herself in the line of danger.
The formidable midwife was presented with her award by Spice Girl Mel B and singer Ellie Goulding – who both pledged to support Wanda’s mission – at a star-studded ceremony for inspirational healthcare heroes in London which was shown on Channel 4 last night.
Wearing a rosette in the colours of the Ukrainian, an emotional Wanda, said: “I just wanted to go and help those women and children after I heard that babies were freezing when they were coming over the border.
“It’s snowing there now. It’s very, very cold and we mustn’t forget the people of Ukraine.”
She added: “For me, being a midwife is my be-all and end-all. It’s my vocation. And this award is not about me. This is for the people of Ukraine.”
Wanda is currently trying to raise funds for portable incubators that she will deliver to a bomb-hit hospital in Ukraine.
Wanda said: “I was telling Ellie and Mel about this baby boy I met at a hospital in Kharkiv which had been hit by mortars. He was born premature with multiple disabilities and was blind.
“He’d been born in the occupied area of Izium and abandoned by his mother. But he had the most beautiful smile. I still see his face every day.
“When I told them, Ellie just said ‘How can I help?’”
Ellie, 35, who gave birth to her son Arthur last April, said: “I’ve seen first hand the impact of the war. Wanda is a true hero.”
Mum-of-three Mel, 47, added: “I’d like to stay in touch with Wanda and support her incredible work. She is a credit to the NHS.”
Best Nurse – Dorcas Gwata
Dorcas, 52, is a psychiatric liaison nurse working out of the A&E department at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London.
She said: “I’m deeply grateful to all the patients I looked after. Without their vulnerability and resilience, I wouldn’t be the nurse I am today.”
Dorcas worked as a hospital cleaner before going on to train as a healthcare assistant and a nurse.
She volunteered in her native Zimbabwe where she was inspired to bring a ‘street clinic’ approach back to Britain.
Piers said: “The people Dorcas has helped are some of the most disadvantaged people in the country. She is exactly what these awards should be about – she’s an absolute hero.”
999 Hero – East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST), Magpas Air Ambulance and Linda, Paul and Tommy Sadler
A TEAM of heroes who saved the life of a schoolgirl who suffered a cardiac arrest while walking to school won our 999 Hero gong.
Daisy Webb, now 14, collapsed into a hedge in Huntingdon, Cambs, but was spotted by passers by Linda Sadler, 55, husband Paul, 55, and son Tommy, 15, who called 999.
Emergency medical technician Charlie Harris, from the East of England Ambulance Service was first on scene within three minutes, shortly followed by paramedics Harrison Galgut, 27, and Grace Lemin, 25, in an ambulance.
Paramedic Charlie said: “Daisy was blue, not breathing. If the team hadn’t arrived so quickly, Daisy wouldn’t be here today.”
A crew from Magpas Air Ambulance also arrived to assist and Daisy was put in an induced coma and rushed to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, where she was treated in intensive care.
Steve Chambers, Dr James Price and Thomas Giddings from Magpas Air Ambulance were also part of the team nominated by Daisy’s family.
All were thrilled to take home their award, presented by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
The PM wished the team his congratulations and joked with Daisy about when she had to go back to school. Daisy told him: “I think I need tomorrow off after this.”
Unsung Hero – Rhys Langford
MANY of the audience were left in tears as they heard how kind-hearted Rhys Langford who had terminal cancer and was undergoing gruelling treatment raised £67,000 for six-year-old Jacob Jones, who also had cancer.
Labourer Rhys set up a GoFundMe page to help fund treatment for little Jacob, who lived in the same village in Ebbw Vale, South Wales, as well as privately donating his own £1,000 life savings, before his death in February, aged just 19 – even though they had never met.
Accepting the award on his behalf, mum Catherine said: “Rhys showed so much strength, courage and kindness.”
Awards judge Christine added: “It’s utter strength on Catherine’s part to talk like that about her son. She shows there’s no limit to love.”
Rhys’ mum has vowed to continue his amazing legacy – and has now set up a new fundraising page in his name.
She said: “This is an incredible start of a legacy for his name to live on forever.”
Best Team – PICU teams from Southampton Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital
Within just three days of the plea being made, a team of medics from Southampton Children’s Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital were on a plane to bring the youngsters to the UK for life-saving treatment.
Consultant Paediatric intensivist Clinical Lead for Southampton Children’s Hospital Dr Michael Griksaitis, 40, who led the mercy mission, said: “For us it was a day at the office and there was a call for help. It’s what any human being would do.”
The youngsters, who endured a traumatic journey to Poland before being assessed and rescued by the UK team, are now being cared for at seven NHS hospitals across England.
Ex football manager Harry Redknapp, who presented the team with their award alongside goalkeeping legend David Seaman, said: “The NHS is a great British institution, just like football. To sit amongst these doctors and nurses, paramedics and midwives, it really is an honour.”
The Caroline Flack Mental Health Hero Award – Dr Ahmed Hankir
Roman said: “It was an honour to present the award. Caroline was a friend of mine, and to have something like this in her memory, to keep it alive, is amazing.”
Dr Hankir, who works at the Maudsley Hospital, in Denmark Hill, South East London, was left suicidal over his past trauma at fleeing his home in war-torn Lebanon as a child and having to sleep rough while striving to qualify as a doctor.
And he now uses his experiences to help others and remove the stigma around mental health.
Dr Hankir – known as The Wounded Healer – said: “My vulnerability is like my super power. I feel like at 2am in A&E when someone is in a mental health crisis, I can connect with them because of my experiences.”
Young Hero – Jayden Sorhaindo
Jayden saved mum Natasha’s life after she suffered a head injury while getting into the bath at their home in Richmond-Upon-Thames, South West London, in February.
Natasha, 42, has auto-immune disorder lupus and heart failure, and Jayden has been a young carer for her mum since she was seven.
She is also a St John Ambulance cadet and used the life-saving skills she learnt there to keep her mum alive before paramedics arrived.
Jayden, who was put forward for the award by her St John Ambulance cadet youth leader, Shona Serpant, added: “I don’t feel like what I do is different or special because it’s just what I do every day. I’m lucky to have the best mum in the world too.”
Best Doctor – Dr Freda Newlands
The heroic doctor who saved countless lives in Ukraine thought she was attending a reception at Dumfries House, Ayrshire, but instead was greeted by His Majesty.
He handed her our Best Doctor award on what was to be his final day as the Prince of Wales as the Queen sadly died the next day – with a video of the jaw-dropping moment shown at our star-studded ceremony on Tuesday.
The humble medic said: “I can’t believe I’ve won, I definitely don’t feel like the best doctor. There are so many incredible doctors both working in the UK and helping overseas.”
Comedian Al Murray who announced the award on stage, hailed Dr Freda for retraining as a doctor in her 40s, after a 15 year career as a secondary school biology teacher.
He said: “Freda shows you can follow your calling whenever it comes.”
Best Charity – Jump Children’s Charity
IT was an emotional evening for the Jump Children’s charity, which provides professional photography and video services for families of children with life-limiting illnesses.
Christine, who was joined on stage by Jacob’s mum Christie Bower, 44, and his sister Darcy, 12, held up a photo of her grandson after she accepted the Best Charity award from TV Chef Jamie Oliver.
Jamie said: “It’s amazing what she’s done over the past 18 years.”
The charity, named after Jacob’s favourite Girls Aloud song, also runs special activity days allowing families to get together.
It was put forward for the gong by mum Donna Edge, 49, from Nantwich, Cheshire, whose eight-year-old daughter Mary suffers from life-threatening seizures.
Christine said: “I feel so incredibly proud that we have been recognised. The bereavement support that we give to families is lifelong.”
The National Lottery’s Local Health Hero – Jo Taylor
PARALYPMIAN Amy Conroy hailed Jo Taylor a “game-changer” for her tireless work supporting cancer patients and survivors despite having a terminal diagnosis herself.
The mum-of-two, from Diggle, Greater Manchester, has secondary metastatic cancer.
She runs After Breast Cancer Diagnosis, offering free exercise retreats for women.
Amy, who presented Jo with her award alongside Olympic gymnast Max Whitlock, said: “Cancer runs in my family. I lost my mum to breast cancer, I lost my leg to cancer, so seeing someone who’s such a game-changer speaking so well about it and doing such powerful things is just amazing. I’m in awe of her.”
Max added: “I think what stands out is Jo’s incredible positive attitude.”
Jo, 53, said it was wonderful to be recognised for her work.
She said: “Every day 31 women die from secondary cancer. Physical exercise and activity really helps with long-term benefits.”
The Christina Newbury Memorial Award – Dame Deborah James
CAMPAIGNER, Sun columnist and podcaster and Sun columnist Dame Deborah James was an inspiration to us all – working tirelessly to raise awareness of cancer and challenge taboos.
The mum-of-two was also a huge supporter of our Who Cares Wins awards and served as a judge for many years.
Heather said: “Deborah was a big supporter of the NHS and all the heroes here. We are very honoured to have this award. I just wish she could be here.”
Speaking about Deborah’s children, Hugo, 15, and Eloise, 13, Virgin Radio DJ Chris said: “They will know her because she filmed everything. They’ll have her right there. She was always dancing.
“Even tonight it felt like she was here.”
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