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Volunteer Sheila Tatum has been named as one of a national charity’s #HiddenHeroes for supporting a Coventry care home during the pandemic.

Sheila is a former palliative nurse who worked for Methodist Homes (MHA) for 12 years until her retirement in 2015. But her dedication to MHA Abbey Park care home meant she continued to support the home as a volunteer, helping with training and audits.

When the home closed to visitors in early March, Sheila took the brave decision to continue coming in to the home, despite being at high risk if she was to contract coronavirus.

Since then, Sheila has been going in to MHA Abbey Park most days to support the team and residents, often being found cleaning or offering support to all staff. She has cleaned equipment, deep cleaned infected units, answered telephones, offered befriending service to vulnerable staff who have been shielding, offering to do their shopping and collect prescriptions, as well as supporting staff emotionally.

MHA Abbey Park manager Tina Thompson said: “In our worst period, we had around half of our team off due to the virus and a high number of our residents were affected by Covid-19, yet Sheila still came in to support us despite the high risk to herself.

“I am so proud of all of my team but for a volunteer to dedicate so much of her own time to us is truly remarkable.

“These were some of our darkest days in the home, and even more when we were sadly losing some of our residents to the infection, but Sheila’s empathy and understanding for staff was invaluable. On one occasion I thanked her for coming in and helping and her response was ‘no thank you, for giving me a purpose’ I have no words she is truly inspirational.”

Sheila is now one of MHA’s Hidden Heroes, a campaign which aims to highlight the work of people in the charity by sharing their stories across social media using #HiddenHeroes.

Commented Sheila: “I felt the need to support my friends and colleagues during this crisis. It also gave me a purpose to my time, when I would have otherwise been isolated during lockdown. Hence, I had the time and opportunity to help.”

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