HEROES across the county stepped up to meet the challenge of tackling coronavirus.

Courageous NHS workers across Worcestershire worked tirelessly to try to save people from Covid-19, and many student nurses from the University of Worcester began working at hospitals earlier than planned, to help.

Laura Weston, a final year student from the University of Worcester, chose to carry out her final months of her course on placement to help fight coronavirus at Worcestershire Royal.

The 23-year-old, who continued with her academic studies as well as working at the hospital, said she was inspired to opt in after the nation’s death rate rapidly increased.

She said: “Although it’s a very strange environment to begin my career in, it’s hopefully a once in a lifetime experience and will make me a better nurse for the years to come.

“It’s six months earlier than planned, but I’m so excited for this adventure and I am proud to be helping out during this crisis.”

Fellow Worcester final-year nursing student Rosie Wilkinson was working at the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch. She was born in the same hospital and is working in the same department that her father trained in as she joined the frontline battle against the pandemic. It’s an opportunity to help,” said the 27-year-old, of Whitnash, near Leamington Spa. “When you see the people that are being properly affected by it, it’s heartbreaking. To be honest I would have done it for free. I didn’t choose to be a nurse for the money. I’m doing it because I wanted to help and look after people. I would feel much worse if I sat at home and didn’t go in.”

Three years ago Becky Shuck was working as a beauty therapist but decided she wanted to become a nurse when she witnessed first hand the care they provided to a family member.

She was one of the University of Worcester’s 200 student nurses joining the NHS frontline, taking on a six-month paid placement on an acute medical ward at the Alexandra Hospital, in Redditch.

“The reason I came into nursing was I wanted to make a difference,” said Miss Shuck, of Longbridge, near Rubery.

Carers have also been key in the response to the pandemic. Among them is Rachel Rainsford, 51, a carer for Eclipse HomeCare, who told the Worcester News about her typical day visiting vulnerable people at their homes amidst the coronavirus crisis.

She explained how for many of her clients, she was the only person they saw each week, and described the pressure on her and her colleagues due to some of their fellow staff being off work due to Covid-19: "Some of our lovely caregivers are off at the moment, self-isolating, so we are all pulling together to get all calls covered - it is not as though we can allow people to just not be seen."

Sue Miller was working for the Worcestershire Care Leavers Team, which has more than 600 young people who need assistance. For a lot of them, this is the only kind of help or support they receive – the closest thing to family they have – so she was still visiting them during the pandemic.

Schools across the county helped the NHS by donating or making protective equipment. Among tjem was Christopher Whitehead Language College in Worcester, which made 145 visors for frontline staff in hospitals.