Cork Community Champion: A humble hero who answered the call of medics

Cork Community Champion: A humble hero who answered the call of medics
Betty Brosnan at her home in Carrigaline sewing on the extra material to the medical gowns.

A CARRIGALINE woman has become a humble community champion by answering the call of local medical staff during a time of need.

Betty Brosnan, a resident of Carrigaline for more than 50 years, has been working diligently over the past week to assist local nurses after seeing a post on the Carrigaline Noticeboard on Facebook.

District Nurse, Michelle Casey, who works out of the Carrigaline Primary Care Centre, recently put out an appeal on social media looking for volunteers to fit cuffs on a consignment of medical gowns which had come in from China.

The gowns had short sleeves and were unsuitable for the needs of the nurses working on the ground.

“I saw the post on the noticeboard and I was only too happy to volunteer,” Betty said. So far, Betty has completed around 100 gowns, although she is modest about her efforts.

“I pace myself and get through about 20 a day. I’m in my element sewing and I was happy to help out. It’s good to be able to do something while we’re in lockdown,” she said.

Betty, who qualified as a teacher at the age of 53, taught English at Christ King Secondary School ahead of her retirement and has always had sewing as a creative outlet.

She is also involved with the Carrigaline Musical Society, as a treasurer and costume designer. “I’m always sewing.

“I make bags out of curtain fabric books and other recycled scraps of fabric, which I sell at farmers markets.”

Betty’s creative efforts have now been diverted to the practicalities of fitting cuffs to the medical gowns, which are dropped off at her door by Michelle.

“Michelle lets me know when she has gowns for me and then drops them off outside my house and I let her know when they’re finished and ready to collect. I’m using tubular bandage to add an extra six inches, which makes a nice neat cuff,” Betty explained.

Betty is one of several volunteers pitching in to help the nurses in the community — a gesture which Michelle is hugely appreciative of.

Cork Community Champions
Cork Community Champions

“I put a request on the noticeboard and I got five lovely talented ladies who were more than willing to help,” Michelle said. 

“So far we have about 260 gowns nearly done. The ladies are fantastic to give their time up for free and we as a group of nurses are so grateful to them.

“There is Betty Brosnan, Marianne Prevost-Martin, Anne O’Neill, Sandra Hourihan and Jan Foster.

“Most of the ladies just knew me from work or school and own a sewing machine and wanted to help in any way.

“Definitely the community spirit is alive and kicking in Carrigaline,” Michelle told The Echo.

Now cocooning at home, it was just a few weeks ago that Betty was stranded at sea after the cruise ship she was onboard was denied entry to American ports due to the outbreak of Covid-19.

Two weeks later than expected, the Celebrity Eclipse eventually docked in San Diego. Betty was then put on a chartered flight to Heathrow and then onto Cork. Despite the upheaval, Betty remained calm.

“It was an anxious time, but we were very well looked after. I was in quarantine for 14 days after I returned home and I’m still cocooning because I’m over 70,” she explained.

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