Caring and sensitivity earn ‘hero’ nomination

Chris Roberts (right), mortuary manager at Blackpool Victoria hospital who has been short-listed for a Celebrating Success Unsung Hero Award. Chris is pictured with his team, from left, William Jolly, Martin Brearton and Roy Whitehead.
Chris Roberts (right), mortuary manager at Blackpool Victoria hospital who has been short-listed for a Celebrating Success Unsung Hero Award. Chris is pictured with his team, from left, William Jolly, Martin Brearton and Roy Whitehead.
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HIS job would be considered by many to be a thankless task.

But Chris Roberts – one of the more behind-the-scenes workers at Blackpool Victoria Hospital – does enjoy his role as mortuary manager.

He has been in post 21 years and his experience, professionalism, caring nature and sensitivity has earned him a place on the shortlist in the Unsung Hero category of the Gazette-backed Celebrating Success Awards.

His role involves dealing with a range of people, from hospital staff and patients’ families, to police, coroners, undertakers and pathologists, often at what is the most difficult and distressing time.

Graeme Harrison, hospital chaplaincy team leader, who nominated Chris, said he made “an incredible difference” in the care he gave to deceased patients, their relatives, his colleagues and other organisations.

He said: “Many in this organisation will not know about Chris starting every early each morning to ensure the work is done with quality.

“Beyond his normal working hours, Chris consistently demonstrates skill, knowledge and sensitive understanding when times are difficult for families, colleagues and other professionals.

“When this community and the hospital has experienced particular tragedies locally and nationally reported in the media, Chris goes beyond the call of duty with continued professionalism to provide care ensuring safe, legal and due process.

“I have always been very impressed by Chris paying attention to the small details in caring for the deceased.

“Empathy, compassion, efficiency, expertise, sensitivity, flexibility and respect are among many of the reasons why Chris Roberts should be awarded this honour.”

Chris has also led the development of the new mortuary facility at the hospital.

He and other short-listed nominees will find out if they have won at a glittering ceremony at Blackpool Tower Ballroom on November 2.

But Chris says any award would be one for his whole mortuary team.

“I was shocked to be short-listed, it’s really not something I ever expected.

“It’s really nice to have even been nominated and to be recognised, but we really do work as a team. We are like a little family here.

“I think I have the best team in the whole of the North West.

“It can be a difficult line of work and a subject people might tend to shy away from.

“It entails autopsies of course, but a whole range of other work, including dealing with bereaved families.

“It’s obviously something which must be approached with sensitivity and understanding – we appreciate it is a, very difficult time for them.

“The job satisfaction comes from the fact we are able to perhaps help those families, to make a difference.”