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Moving awareness film made by GSK apprentices spreads vital message far and wide

Published on: Monday 12th June 2017
Categorised under: Work, Learn , Apprentices, Education, GSK, Stay, Ulverston

A deeply moving awareness film featuring the parents of an Ulverston boy who died after suffering an asthma attack is having a huge impact.

As its young creators take their inspirational campaign to a national finals, they aim to spread the vital message far and wide.

GSK Ulverston apprentices have made a remarkable asthma awareness video in memory of Josh West, who passed away in April last year, just a few days before his 12th birthday.

The emotional film, which has just been presented to the first secondary school groups, shows Josh's parents proudly remembering their eldest son, a talented footballer, and talking openly about when Josh took ill.

Lee West and Nicola Lancaster felt it crucial for them to be involved in the campaign; telling Josh's story, helping inform others about recognising the signs of an asthma attack, and ultimately saving lives.

Mr West, 34, said: "If this campaign saves a life that is Josh's legacy complete. We don't want anyone else to suffer.

"As Josh's dad I'm proud of each and every one one of those apprentices. What they have done is incredible. We want this message to go far and wide, world-wide. My boy always said he would be famous."

The video also includes Josh's brother Billy, nine, and Dr Mohamed Olabi, a consultant paediatrician from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.

Although the campaign is part of GSK projects which have earned them a place in the prestigious national finals of the Brathay Apprenticeship Challenge 2017 this week, the team are adamant that the campaign is far bigger than the finals, with the aim of making the message as far-reaching as possible.

The idea for the campaign came from Sam Coulson, 18, a GSK Ulverston manufacturing apprentice. Sam is the cousin of Josh's great friend Oliver Burrows, 12. The West family also have other connections to the apprentice team.

Furness Academy pupils were among the first to watch the film and hear from the apprentice team. They have been left inspired and moved.

Megan Snailham, 15 said: "The whole talk was interesting and raised awareness of a condition that it not spoken about as widely as most. It was great to see the GSK apprentices take such an interest and be passionate about a condition that has clearly had some devastating consequences."

Paul Williams, the headteacher of Cartmel CE Priory School, another school the GSK apprentices have visited with the campaign, said: "Thank you to the GSK Ulverston apprentices for their recent visit when they shared details of this very tragic story by way of a film, which was both very moving and informative.

"It helped to further enhance awareness of what a serious condition asthma is, given the personal nature of the film, and highlighted how situations can quickly change to being a serious risk to sufferers. The film was excellent – the children fully engaged with the accounts told by Josh West's parents and the doctor involved.

"All pupils and staff felt it had much value. Highlighting and raising awareness in this way will hopefully help them respond appropriately if presented with such a situation in the future."

The GSK Ulverston apprentices were one of only eight teams to go through to the Brathay Apprenticeship Challenge finals which run this week at Ambleside.

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