A group of Ulverston apprentices have launched an asthma awareness campaign in memory of a talented young footballer.
Apprentices from GSK Ulverston have launched the campaign in memory of Josh West, who tragically died aged 11 after suffering an asthma attack in April last year.
Josh was a very popular boy and a talented goalkeeper for Swarthmoor FC. The campaign is backed by Josh’s parents, of Ulverston, and Dr Mohamed Olabi, a Consultant Paediatrician from University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust.
The GSK apprentices have delivered a presentation to local sports club coaches about how to recognise the symptoms of asthma and what to do if someone is having an asthma attack. A qualified nurse accompanied the apprentices to answer medical questions.
Now the apprentices will roll out the presentation to schools, colleges and other youth organisations in Cumbria.
Josh’s dad, Lee West, said: “The whole asthma awareness campaign looks fantastic. If it creates more awareness and stops it happening to anyone else’s child, then it is a fantastic idea. If it could help others, that would be brilliant”.
The idea for the campaign came from Sam Coulson, 18, a GSK manufacturing apprentice from Ulverston.
Mr Coulson said: “Lots of people at GSK knew Josh and know his family. Josh was really popular and made friends with everyone. I would see him at my cousin’s house and we would sometimes have a kick around. We were all really shocked and upset when he died.
“I originally had the idea for the campaign as a project we could do as part of the Brathay Apprentice Challenge, but now it has grown into something much bigger.”
Asthma is a long-term respiratory condition that affects at least 5.4 million people in the UK, including 1 in 11 children.
Kelly Stokes, 19, a GSK supply chain apprentice from Walney, said: “We have all got very involved in the campaign and we want to do something that will really benefit the local community in the long-term.
“Lots of people think asthma is a minor condition, but they need to realise how serious it can be – and we want to get that message out.
“We have had a lot of support from staff at GSK, both locally and nationally. Everyone has been very moved by Josh’s story.
“We are really amazed at how this has taken off, and how many different people are now supporting the project.”
The Brathay Apprentice Challenge is a competition between groups of apprentices from across the UK. Part of it consists of apprentices working on a community project to benefit young people and activities that raise the profile of the team, their employer and apprenticeships.
Terry Sandham, Apprentice Programme Manager at GSK Ulverston, said: “I am really proud of what the apprentices have achieved with the asthma awareness campaign.
“As a team, they have worked incredibly hard on researching asthma and putting the campaign materials together.
“They were really moved by Josh’s story and they are passionate about getting the message out to young people about asthma awareness.”