This week is National Carers Week (June 7 - June 13), which is all about recognising the contribution unpaid carers make to families and communities every day.
Where would we be without our carers? This pandemic has seen challenges for our carers increase ten-fold with many taking on more responsibilities for relatives and friends who need support with illnesses, disabilities or old age.
In a bid to raise awareness of the important and life-changing work they do, we asked our readers to nominate a carer they know to feature in this paper so that Northamptonshire can honour them this week.
To all carers in Northamptonshire, thank you for everything you do.
Here are just a few of the hard-working carers across the county:
1. Kirstie Pope
"Kirstie is a young adult carer and has cared from a young age and is simply amazing! She cares for her mum on her own, always putting her before herself, whilst also being Carer Champion for Young Carers locally and currently completing her masters. I am SO proud of her and she really does deserve a shout out!"
Photo: Jane Bayliss
2. Jessica and Matthew
"I would like to nominate my two children Jessica and Matthew. Jessica is 21 and Matthew is 16. They have both been caring for me for the last six years and both, at one point, were registered as Young Carers - Matthew still is. As children, they had to take on a lot more than other children their age would even realise possible, but not once have they ever complained. Jessica now works a full time job and still looks after me jointly with Matthew who has just finished his GCSE year at school and will be moving on to college in September. I think Young Carers and Young Adult Carers rarely get the recognition they deserve. Growing up with a disabled single parent has not been easy for them. I want them to know how special and loved they are."
Photo: Sarah Balkham
3. Eleanor and Russell Draper
"A new mummy and daddy to my grandson, Teddy, who was born with a genetic mutation called encephalopathy/HIE/global development delay. Teddy will be celebrating his first birthday in July. His mummy and daddy need to know how brave and wonderful they both are giving our Teddy pure love and unconditional 24 hour care."
Photo: Maria Bates
4. Fiona O'Donnell
"You couldn't find a better carer, one in a million!" - Tanyia Dunk
"This wonderful lady not only works non-stop delivering fantastic care to her clients but also puts her family and friends first before herself. The biggest heart of all people I know - feel so blessed to have her in mine and my family's life." - Laura Friary
"This woman is incredible. She cares for many people and treats them all as if they are her own family. She is the best care manager too and really looks after her staff. She goes above and beyond every single day as well as being a wonderful mother to her boys and a true friend to many." - Dionne Bennett
Photo: Tanyia Dunk