Advertisement

Feel Good Friday: Meet the 'unsung heroes' making the world a better place

We're celebrating the ordinary people doing extraordinary things every single day, right here in the Midlands, with our special Feel Good Friday weekly vodcast.

Tune in each Friday in August to get the latest injection of positive news!

  • Week 4: Unsung Heroes (24/08/18)

A few weeks ago, I went on social media to ask ITV Central viewers for their good news stories - including anyone they thought of as an 'unsung hero'.

The response was fantastic - and it was so inspiring to hear about all the wonderful things going on every day right here in the Midlands.

Jilly Rivers, who works in the fundraising department at Birmingham Dogs Home, nominated her colleague Rachel Frost.

"She really goes above and beyond - I can't tell you how many extra hours she puts in, arranging fundraising events, the social media accounts, everything really," she said.

"I couldn't do this without her - we want her to know how much we appreciate what she does and how much she means to the Dogs Home."

Tracey Holden, from Wednesbury, nominated her daughter Kirsty. They both suffer with a rare condition called hereditary angieodema, which causes sudden, unexplained swellings.

They were taught how to give themselves infusions - but Tracey couldn’t quite bring herself to use the needle on her own arm. Instead, Kirsty performed the infusions for her mother for over a year.

Recently, with her daughter’s support, Tracey worked up the courage to inject herself.

And finally, for Ashley Augustine from Rubery, it was his wife Amy who deserved to be recognised.

He suffers with a neurological disorder which doctors haven’t yet been able to diagnose. It causes him to blackout suddenly, without warning - meaning he's often regained consciousness with broken bones, or severe cuts on his face.

She takes care of him, and has stuck by his side throughout all the pain and the worry - as well as taking care of their two young daughters.

  • Week 3: Animal Magic (17/08/18)

When a stray dog is picked up and gives birth to a litter of puppies two days later, who is there to look after them?

Much of the time, it falls to charities and volunteers to foster the pups - and take care of mom - until they're ready to find homes of their very own.

And it's not just puppies, of course. The Dogs Trust centre in Evesham looks after all sorts of homeless hounds - big, small, old and young.

We meet gentle giant Bruno, looking for someone with enough room on the sofa to give him some cuddles; as well as old man Sandy, a 16-year-old terrier just looking for a quiet place to live out the rest of his days with a bit of love and fuss.

Then we have Reilly - a bouncy, playful lurcher-type who, at two years old, is still very much a pup and keen to find owners with the patience and energy to keep up with him.

Thankfully, much of the time, there is a happy ending.

Frank was 13 when he arrived at the charity's Shrewsbury centre, found as a stray and badly emaciated.

Luckily, fate had a plan in store. Jenny and Tim had been on the hunt for their perfect dog for months.

And when they saw Frank, they said, it was love at first sight.

  • Week 2: Survivors (10/08/18)

Cancer can destroy lives - but as therapies advance and treatment improves, it doesn't mean what it once did.

For Gemma, a pub landlady from Loughborough, her breast cancer diagnosis in 2013 came as a shock.

She felt as though she needed to "brush some crumbs" from her chest, before realising that actually, what she could feel was beneath her skin.

She underwent surgery and drug therapy - and in May this year, on the fifth anniversary marking her 'all clear', she tied the knot with the man she met while still fighting cancer.

Meanwhile Adrian, a father-of-two from Dudley, was fighting for his life.

He was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2012 - and before long, doctors realised it had spread. They found it in his spleen, spine, bowels, lungs, and in his liver.

He was told he could have as little as 12 months to live - but, determined not to let it beat him, he signed up to a string of experimental drug trials at the University of Birmingham.

Six years on, he's now essentially living cancer-free.

  • Week 1: Community Heroes (03/08/18)

Eunice McGhie-Belgrave is 83 years old - but age is no barrier for this extraordinary lady.

She spends her time - and her pension money - on the Shades of Black community project in Stechford in Birmingham, which she launched back in the 80s.

Children and teenagers can go along and learn a range of skills - from caring for a vegetable patch to sewing. She also helps them with their homework.

Meanwhile, up in Grantham, Martin Kinghoward has dedicated himself to helping the volunteers of the RNLI.

A model boat enthusiast, he spends all his spare time tending to his boats and driving them around the country to go on display, raising money for the cause.

And recently, he took on a mammoth project - rescuing an old 13ft fundraising model set to be scrapped.

But thanks to donations of wood and paint from local businesses, and hours of hard work, he's managed to get it back on the road again.