A year ago this very month our driver Barry Ackroyd underwent a triple heart by-pass. He's since battled back to work and is this month's Star Award winner for "taking the time to make people feel special, without realising just how special he is himself.”
He received a gushing nomination from his manager Lorina Cragg yet he also has a personal amazing story... which he shares with the shuttle bus users and here with CHFT Weekly.
Here is his story...
Barry Ackroyd never thought he’d had a heart attack. He had been feeling unwell with what he thought was a sore throat and had been taking lozenges for about a month!
He recalls back to Feb 2015. “I had come to pharmacy to drop something off and just didn’t feel right. I was breathless and cold. I went to A&E where they did all the tests and told me there was good news and bad. The good was they had a bed for me, the other good news was that I was in A&E where I could get the care I needed and the bad news was I’d had a heart attack which had shown up in blood tests.”
He was at first under our Dr Simon Grant and stents were tried but unsuccessful. One artery was blocked another was 75-80% blocked and another was furring up. So he was referred for surgery and underwent the massive triple by-pass op performed by surgeon Betsy Evans in Leeds on May 12 last year. Six days later he was discharged and went back on the road back to recovery.
He said being off work had been a very emotional time and he was enjoying being back on our shuttle buses... and on the golf course. There is heart medical history in his family and he has changed his lifestyle to eating more fish, a lot more fruit and veg and uses low fat spreads. He has also cut out all added sugars and still enjoys a pork pie (but not every day) and an occasional tot of whisky.
Looking back, he added: “I feel like I’ve been given another life. They said I should be good for 25-30 years – unless a bus hits me!!”
Lorina's nomination said: “Barry goes above and beyond his role every day. He is always extremely polite, helpful and professional. He has such a lovely way with patients and everybody loves him. He recently helped a lady who had fallen on the shuttle bus and cut herself badly.
“He applied pressure to the area and kept it applied and sat with her until she arrived in A&E. He then came back at the end of the shift to see if she was ok. He dresses up every Christmas as Santa, whilst driving the shuttle bus.
Here's a quick Q&A with Barry!
How long have you worked here? About 12 years
What do you like about your job? All aspects but particular meeting new people
Have you a fave moment? Barry used to drive coaches and his favourite moment was when he got lost in Finland going through a wood with a road left or right and he asked at a nearby cottage the way and the lady came out with homemade lemonade for the whole coach full of people
What makes a good driver? Good interaction with the passengers makes them feel confident of your capabilities
Have you a hero driver? Racing driver Ayrton Senna because he was so good. Also Jim Clarke before him.
Have you a fave part of the Elland bypass? Coming off it - or having a clear run at it- doesn’t everyone love that road?
Communications assistant Heidi Hawkins, joined him for a journey to CRH. She said: "He really kept everyone entertained joking about his bypass on the bypass. He's a funny guy."