Leona Harris: Rossendale-born nurse to feature on ITV advent calender and new Dan Walker book

A NURSE dubbed The Angle of the North who raised thousands of pounds to help patients during the pandemic is now recovering from a coronavirus diagnoses and will be featured in both ITV’s Advent Calendar programme and in TV star Dan Walker’s now book.

This is the latest instalment of a hugely impressive year for Leona Harris in which she captured the imaginations of thousands with her work against the coronavirus pandemic.

Although she will now have to self-isolate with husband Nick for the next few weeks, Mrs Harris is looking forward to getting back to work once it is safe to do so and says that helping patients has also been her number one priority.

She said: “I’ve had quite a surreal year, but I didn’t do it to get awards I did it to help connect patients and their families.

“But then it went viral and it was just fantastic.”

Mrs Harris, who is originally from Rossendale and works at Fairfield General Hospital in Bury, first came to public attention with a campaign raising thousands of pounds to buy iPads to allow patients to speak to loved ones despite visiting restrictions caused by the pandemic.

Since then she has succeeded in raising over £70,000 and donated to over 50 hospitals and has been honoured several times, most recently by being featured in the ITV December series and in BBC Breakfast and Football Focus presenter Dan Walker’s new book Remarkable People.

The dedicated nurse, who has worked in the profession since 1997, was also shortlisted for the Florence Nightingale Nurse of the Year Award and took part in a virtual switch on for the Blackpool Illuminations in September.

She has also been honoured with a virtual front row seat at the Royal Variety Show, to be broadcast later this year.

However, her task has not always been easy especially since receiving her positive Covid-19 diagnosis last Monday.

Mrs Harris said: “I’ve missed three shifts this week and because I work for an agency, I’ve not received any pay.”

She added: “I just think that’s really wrong; I’ve still got bills to pay and I can’t imagine what it would be like if I was a single mother with no support.”

However, Mrs Harris has already turned her attention to a new campaign, Teddy for Christmas.

She said: “I just want to focus on the bigger picture and there’s a lot of people out there who are going to be lonely this Christmas, so this campaign is about raising awareness.”

To find out more, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/teddyforchristmas.

The Westmorland Gazette | North Lancs