Family of Burnley grandmother say thanks to ' remarkable and dedicated' care home worker for saving her life
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Laura Foulds, who is the activities co-ordinator at The Grove care home, has been presented with a special contribution award from Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham after she was nominated by the family of Eileen Carroll.
They wanted to see the 29-year-old recognised for going above and beyond the call of duty when Eileen, who was a daily visitor to the home to see her husband Joe, failed to turn up on the couple's 59th wedding anniversary.
Laura said: "Eileen visited Joe daily and sometimes twice a day so when she didn't appear on their anniversary I got a bit worried as she had been planning to take him out for lunch.
"I stayed on after my shift but she still didn't appear so I decided to call at her house on the way home."
Believing that Eileen (79) may be out with friends after her weekly stint of cleaning at St Matthew's Church, Laura went home. But she couldn't rest and returned to Eileen's home later that evening.
Laura said: "I thought she may be in bed so didn't want to frighten her."
The next morning Laura went round to Eileen's again on her way to work and later with a colleague and her manager.
Laura, who has worked at The Grove since she was 18, said: "My manager put her hand through the letterbox and felt all the post behind it.
"We knocked on neighbours' doors and no-one had seen Eileen so we knew something was wrong."
Laura called police who broke the door down to find Eileen collapsed on her bathroom floor. She was rushed to hospital where she spent several weeks recovering after suffering the stroke in March last year.
Elaine Ninnis, who is Eileen's niece, nominated Laura for the award and said the whole family were 'eternally grateful' for her actions that day.
She said: "Laura saved my aunt's life and my whole family are so grateful to her, how can we possibly thank her enough?
"I had rung my aunt a couple of times and there was no reply but as she used to be very active and was always out and about somewhere so it was not unusual for her not to be in.
"But Laura was persistent and had a feeling something wasn't right and that is what saved my aunt's life."
After leaving hospital Eileen, who spent several years working at the former Benn's leather and toy shop in Burnley, moved into The Grove and shared a room with her husband until he died in August.
Now confined to a wheelchair, Eileen, who has a son and several nieces and nephews, said Laura is now like her family. She said: "Laura is a wonderful person she knew there was something wrong and she wouldn't let it go.
"There is a special affinity between the two of us. Joe thought the world of her also."
Laura has also been recognised with the award for her sterling efforts during the pandemic to keep residents' spirits up and help families to stay in touch with them via social media, facetime calls and emails.
Elaine said: "Not being able to visit has been horrible for everyone but Laura has, again, gone above and beyond her normal duties to help us keep in touch.
"It has been so important and has kept everyone's spirits up.
"Laura is a remarkable, dedicated and caring young woman and the team at The Grove are absolutely fantastic.
"They should all be recognised for the wonderful work they do that means so much to everyone."
Speaking about the award he presented to Laura, the MP said: "I've been humbled by the care, dedication and fortitude shown by care staff across our borough during the pandemic.
"They have stepped up in every way, shape and form imaginable. And with Laura we see that exemplified.
"Knowing how isolating the pandemic could be she's made sure all the residents have been able to keep in touch with their loved ones and it was clear from the messages I got about her work what this meant to the families involved.
"I know from experience that when a relative goes into a care home it can be a nerve-wrecking time for everyone involved, but knowing that it's people like Laura who look after them gives a lot of reassurance
"She should be rightly proud of herself as I know all her friends and family will be."