STAFF at a Whitchurch care home have been named Medical Heroes of the Year, recognising their bravery and compassion during the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees at Berehill House on Newbury Road were chosen by the judges at The Advertiser's Hampshire Heroes Awards, hosted by Falklands war veteran Simon Weston and newspaper publisher, Bill Browne.

Judges were blown away by the nomination from Berehill House which revealed the personal sacrifices staff made at the height of the pandemic to ensure residents were well-looked after and cared for in their most-needed moments.

Their manager Michelle Hart described how frightening it was: “Being a care worker has always been a very challenging job, but in March 2020 we had no idea of how much more challenging it would become.

“No one really knew too much about Covid 19, when suddenly we were in a situation where one of our residents with no obvious symptoms was rushed to hospital and we were subsequently told a few hours later he was Covid positive.

“Staff were petrified, we cried, we called our families and said we would not be home. At that very moment we did not know how long we would be there but we were committed to doing it.

“Thankfully, clearer support came through and we were able to return to our homes and our own loved ones. But Not one day has gone past where staff have not gone over and above their job description during this pandemic.

“We tried so hard to stay in touch with families. Weekly updates, using our own technology to FaceTime and WhatsApp, we raised nearly £5,000 for a 32” tablet to enable our residents to see their families better on video.

“We never let a resident pass away alone. If we had agency staff on duty, one or more of us would stay to ensure our residents had that familiar face around at their most vulnerable time. Many families thought we were lucky we could still go home or still do the weekly shop. What they didn’t see was that many of us were banned from our own families, one carer lost both parents during the pandemic and still came to work.”