Burnley nurse Bryony is angel in disguise for vulnerable families, homeless and those hardest hit by the pandemic

An inspirational young Burnley nurse, who started her career just as the first lockdown hit, was so moved by how many people were struggling to manage as the pandemic took hold she decided to do something to help.

And Bryony Elliott (23) was overwhelmed with the response to her appeal for food donations to help families struggling in her hometown.

"I could not believe how much food was donated and the kindness that was shown. The donations just kept piling up in my bedroom, " said Bryony who is a district nurse with the Burnley West team.

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Bryony enlisted the help of her colleague, Gina Holt who works in administration for the same team, after seeing the work done by Pastor Mick Fleming with his Church on the Street ministryBryony said: "Both Gina and I wanted to do something to boost the morale of people at work and give something positive back to the community."

Bryony (left) with ELHT and Me community fundraiser Emma Heinicke and some of the Easter eggs donated to hospitals in Burnley, Blackburn and also the women's refuge

Spurred on by the success of the food donation campaign, Bryony launched a raffle on social media to raise money for essentials for the homeless and Christmas gifts for women and children at the town's refuge.

Again, the response was overwhelming and Bryony raised £550 which she put towards the gifts and essentials.

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Bryony, who lives with her parents, Mark and Andrea, and sister Daisy (14) said: "It was a massive achievement but couldnt have happened without the help of all the businesses who donated the prizes."

Gina joined Bryony on the shopping trip along with her admin colleague, Dot Calvert.

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Bryony (centre back) with her colleagues and some of the donations they received

Bryony added: "Both the homeless and refuge staff were so grateful for the gifts, especially when the weather was so cold and Covid-19 which was making life so hard for people."

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As there was money left over and Bryony was still receving donations she decided to spread some Easter cheer, buying 150 chocolate treats for children in Burnley General and the Royal Blackburn hospitals. She also bought 40 Easter eggs for families in the refuge.

Bryony added: " This has helped both myself and Gina to stay positive and think of others who are less fortunate than us in such uncertain times.

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"It has been a very challenging year, especially starting my job on the first day of lockdown, but Gina has been so welcoming and took me under her wing.

Friends and colleagues Bryony (right) and Gina joined forces to help raise funds for treats and essentials for those hardest hit by the pandemic
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"Doing this has helped me to think of how others are feeling, especially those who have lost their jobs and are unable to pay for food and essentials and warm clothing."

Bryony's sterling work has earned her praise from ELHT and Me, the official charity for East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, which encourages staff and the public to raise funds in order to improve the health and wellbeing of the local population.

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Community fundraiser Emma Heinicke said: "We're really proud of Bryony and her amazing fundraising, which has gone a long way to making a difference for our patients and staff at ELHT.

"Thank you, Bryony, for your hard work, and your contribution to the charity

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" We'd like to encourage anyone inspired by Bryony's fundraising to get in touch with us by visiting our website - elht.nhs.uk/charity."