Meet the Christmas Heroes working on Greater Manchester’s frontline this Christmas Day

Christmas is a time for giving and every year hundreds of people on the frontline give up their Christmas Day to try and bring a smile to the faces of those who need it most.

From paramedics and care home staff to Samaritans volunteers and firefighters, a whole host of people will spend Christmas Day looking after others. Today, the Manchester Evening News is celebrating our region’s Christmas Heroes.

These amazing people are just a small percentage of those who selflessly give up a day with their families to give much-needed care and services. Here are the heartwarming stories of some of Greater Manchester’s Christmas Heroes.

The air ambulance paramedic

North West Air Ambulance critical care paramedic Rob
North West Air Ambulance critical care paramedic Rob (Image: Photography – Nick Harrison)

Rob is a critical care paramedic for the North West Air Ambulance Charity and will be ready to set off “at a moment’s notice” this Christmas, should it be required.

His day will start by checking the aircrafts and making sure they have all the correct equipment and drugs onboard. Due to the nature of the job, he is hoping there will be a quiet time in the shift where he can celebrate Christmas with colleagues.

“Working Christmas is tough and it’s time away from family but thankfully we’ve got a really great team that we work with and hopefully we can find some time to relax and spend some time with each other,” he said.

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“We’d also like to say thank you to [our supporters] for keeping us flying. I’d like to wish you all a really safe and merry Christmas.”

The care home staff

Jonathan Labas Treinta
Jonathan Labas Treinta (Image: Vincent Cole – Manchester Evening News)

Jonathan Labas Treinta and Evette Renshaw are both care assistants at the 42-bed residential care home Cawood House, in Brinnington, Stockport.

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Jonathan will be dressing up as Santa Claus to hand out presents to residents. “I work every day almost and spend most of my time here to try and make the lives of these people as comfortable as possible,” he said. “I’ve decided to spend Christmas with my family at Cawood House because I wouldn’t be anywhere else in the world.”

Evette Renshaw
Evette Renshaw (Image: Vincent Cole – Manchester Evening News)

Evette is also working Christmas Day, as well as Boxing Day, and is looking forward to opening presents with residents and having dinner together. “We all have an amazing time, we’re like a big family,” she added.

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“The residents will open the presents and have a glass of Prosecco with their families. Nicole’s put a beautiful spread on for Christmas lunch. I’ve worked here the last two Christmases and it was really tough with the pandemic but we’re looking forward to it this year with families coming.”

The hospital domestic

Mike Mantle, who works as a domestic at Stepping Hill
Mike Mantle, who works as a domestic at Stepping Hill (Image: Stepping Hill Hospital)

Mike Mantle works as a domestic on Stepping Hill Hospital’s Acute Frailty Unit, ensuring that everything stays clean and runs smoothly on the ward. This is his fifth Christmas Day working but he enjoys it every year and even sings for the patients.

He said: “I get full enjoyment out of being on the ward, talking with people, mingling with patients and having a great time. Unfortunately they can’t be at home so we do the best job we can to entertain them and keep the patients occupied, happy and having a good time.

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“After lunch, I’ll be singing Christmas songs for them. Singing is a wonderful thing. It brings back wonderful memories and it’s lovely to see people joining in.

“Very happy Christmas and a happy new year to all the hospitals in Greater Manchester and all the patients and staff in the hospitals.”

The Samaritan

Samaritans listening volunteer Roger Thompson
Samaritans listening to volunteer Roger Thompson (Image: Samaritans)

Roger Thompson volunteers late every single Christmas Eve to lend an ear to those people who really need it and the Samaritan has encouraged people to call the service on 116 123 if they need help.

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He said: “It’s really important that people are able to reach out to other people when they’re feeling sad, anxious or lonely, and by reaching out and talking with somebody else can make an incredible difference. Volunteering is incredibly rewarding and I get something out of it, so I hope it’s the same for people who reach out to us and contact us at this festive period.

The firefighter

GMFRS watch manager Andy Casey
GMFRS watch manager Andy Casey (Image: GMFRS)

Andy Casey has spent 32 years with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and currently works as a watch manager in the technical response unit, in Ashton-under-Lyne.

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On Christmas Day, he says he will be supporting incident commanders, as well as carrying out regular duties. “What we do know is there’s an increase in incidents at this time of year – based on increased alcohol, candles, and lots of other factors so it’s important we carry on delivering a service,” he said.

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