The woman spending Christmas keeping our elderly safe

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Christmas will come late this year for South Tyneside Council worker Carole Mannings.

The 47-year-old, who is a team leader for the council’s community alarms system, is working from Christmas Eve through to the day after Boxing Day.

She will be monitoring the phones in case an older person has a fall or requires medical attention.

Carole, who lives in South Shields, said: “There is no way of knowing whether it will be quiet this year or absolutely manic.

“I love Christmas but doing this job has made me realise just what a lonely time it can be for some of our older people.

“Some older people have absolutely nobody to rely on so knowing they have a button to press to call for help – whatever the day or time – is the reason I do this job.”

Working this Christmas, Carole admits, will be harder than most as it is her grand-daughter, Lucy’s, first Christmas.

However, Lucy and her mum Lauren, have been given special permission to pop in and see Carole while she’s at work on Christmas Day.

Carole added: “We will have Christmas dinner when I get home from work. The worst thing is that Lauren goes to her partner’s family for lunch and will then come round to ours so she has to have two Christmas dinners.

“My son Phillip, who is 20, will also have to wait until I get home before opening his presents.”

South Tyneside’s community alarms system helps more than 4,000 older people live independently by offering a 24-hour, 365 days a year emergency service.

Coun Ed Malcolm, lead member for resources and innovation, said: “Carole is just one of many dedicated staff who will continue to support the vulnerable and provide essential services over the Christmas festivities this year.

“I would like to pay tribute to all our staff who continue to provide vital services at this special time of year and who are willing to postpone their own festivities for the South Tyneside community.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvicki