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Gail beats the odds to help others out

Recognition: Gail Forrest collects her award from Claire Mashiter, chairman of Volunteer Lancashire

Recognition: Gail Forrest collects her award from Claire Mashiter, chairman of Volunteer Lancashire

A first aider who has spent 54 years volunteering – despite having five brain tumours – has been recognised for her dedication.

Gail Forrest, from Euxton, near Chorley, joined St John Ambulance at the age of seven and progressed through the ranks.

She left last year and became a founder member and chairman of new first aid group, Chorley’s Angels.

Her efforts have now been recognised by Lancashire County Council’s Volunteer Hub and Volunteer Lancashire, who gave her a Big Thank You award for her lifetime of volunteering.

Gail, 61, was nominated by her husband, David, who is also a first aider.

She said: “It was very much a surprise to me. I can honestly say that if I had known he was going to put me forward, he wouldn’t have been allowed to do it.

“It’s something I have chosen to do, but there are a lot of other people who volunteer as well.

“It’s absolutely wonderful that I have got this award, but I was humbled when I listened to what everyone else did. I hadn’t done any more than they had.”

Gail was diagnosed with five benign brain tumours in 2002, after suffering headaches.

The location of the tumours means they cannot be removed, but medication has helped to shrink them.

Gail lives with the tumours, but does sometimes have to rest if she gets tired and her blood pressure goes up.

She is still as committed as ever to being a first aider and regularly spends more than 1,000 hours a year volunteering.

As well as providing first aid cover at events, she has trained many cadets over the years.

And she has no plans to stop volunteering.

She said: “I’m 62 next month and at some point I will have to step back.

“One of our ladies is 73 so I have some life left in me yet!”

 

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