RENOWNED photographer Rankin captured the extraordinary kindness shown by a British Red Cross volunteer from Warrington who helped in last year’s emergencies in London and Manchester.
The UK terror attacks and Grenfell Tower fire caused significant loss of life, and led to one of the largest humanitarian responses by the British Red Cross here in the UK since World War Two.
In a unique photoshoot with Rankin released ahead of Red Cross Week , the charity paid tribute to some of the remarkable acts of kindness shown by volunteers who helped in these times of crisis.
Julia Reason, 51, from Warrington who features in the photoshoot, was one of more than 1,000 British Red Cross volunteers who worked alongside the emergency services and in solidarity with the local community to support in the aftermath of the UK terror attacks and Grenfell Tower fire last summer.
The characterful photos are being released ahead of Red Cross Week, when thousands of people across the UK and beyond will be carrying out their own small acts of kindness in their community.
Julia has been a volunteer with the British Red Cross for more than eight years. Following the Manchester Arena attack Julia was deployed to Oldham hospital, to provide a quiet space for hospital staff who needed respite. She also provided emotional support to people at the memorial that took place in memory of the victims in the city centre.
She said: “I first heard about the Manchester Arena attack whilst I was watching TV. When something terrible like that happens, especially when it’s so close to home, you just want to do anything you can to help. I knew that my experience as a British Red Cross volunteer could help make a difference to those caught up in the blast.
“At the memorial there were lots of tears and hugs but no speaking. All you could hear was the rain until the crowd began to link arms and started singing Oasis’s Don’t Look Back in Anger. Our shifts were supposed to be four hours but we stayed for eight. We didn’t want to leave, we wanted to stay and support people.”
Julia also volunteered at the One Love Manchester concert where the atmosphere was emotionally charged and feelings ranged from, from elation to trauma. She joined in the celebrations of strength and unity of the city whilst also providing support to those who needed it.
Two weeks later Julia travelled to London to support the families who had been affected by the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower.
She said: “I had never been on a tube in my life, and as I came out of the station I saw the photos of missing people, which just broke my heart. The events of last year have had a lasting impact on me. But as a volunteer for the British Red Cross we’re privileged to be able to help people when they need it most, and support them through emergencies like these.”
Photographer Rankin said: “Like everyone I was horrified by the incidents that happened last summer and the terrible loss of life it caused. The power of community really shone through, and the people in these images worked day and night alongside the emergency services, helping people cope with what happened. Their incredible compassion and support made a difference to so many people in their darkest hour.”
The British Red Cross is the movement that connects human kindness with human kindness.
For more information visit www.redcross.org.uk/kindness #powerofkindness