Monday, 31 August 2009

Human Nature

Back in the land of whippets and ferret-juggling ex-mill workers again, but humbled in my ironic sniper’s rooftop perch by the piece below.

Just in case anyone’s feeling I’m running down my home region a lot these days here’s a bit of that internet cliché Good News from The Bolton News for your edification. Lancashire bravery in the spirit of the Accrington Pals.

Hero care home worker Carol Bostock honoured following blaze

THE care home was filled with thick black smoke and a fire was raging downstairs.

It was New Year’s Eve, and Carol Bostock, who cares for three disabled tenants at Stowell Court, Halliwell, had already led two of them to safety.

But a third man was trapped upstairs, fearing for his life.

Without a thought for her own safety, Mrs Bostock went back into the burning building and rushed to his aid.

I disagree about this – it’s a journalistic cliché. I bet she thought long and hard about her own safety: imagining falling prey to smoke inhalation and suffocating in darkened corridors, or her clothes and hair bursting into flames; or maybe inhaling fire and feeling her lungs scorching and melting as blood and fire boiled her from within. I bet she was really, really aware of all this in her future, but that something inside her decided to think about that third man as someone preciousand worth of life even at the cost of her own.

She put a coat over his head to shield him from the smoke, but then faced an agonising wait as she used the stairlift to get him to the ground floor.

Waiting under fire (literally in this case), when all your instincts for self-preservation tell you to run, has to be one of the clearest examples of sustained courage that Fate throws at our species. We admire and expect such conduct in infantry - young and trained and possibly not too imaginative about death yet and motivated by pride and standing amongst friends and comrades and bolstered by all that - but in a middle-aged civilian all alone but for her charge and fellow human being?

I suspect that she was not all alone at all.

Firefighters arrived within minutes but by that time, the 55-year-old had already saved all three residents.

Yesterday, Mrs Bostock relived the daring rescue after receiving a commendation from the Greater Manchester Fire Service.

The modest care worker was overwhelmed by the award but said she feared for her life.

She said: “I was very scared. I couldn’t see for the smoke and it was taking so long to get him down the stairs.

“I just knew I had to get them all out. I didn’t know whether I could do it but I had to try. It feels fantastic to get the award.”

Just so you know.

At the ceremony at Bolton Central Fire Station, firefighters told Mrs Bostock she was a life-saver.

Watch commander Ted Andrews, who was on duty that night, said: “If it wasn’t for Carol we would have had a fatal fire on our hands.

“By the time we got there the fire was very well developed. Luckily, Carol got everyone out.

“Not many people could do what she did.”

Mrs Bostock received a County Fire Officer’s Certificate of Commendation from Deputy County Fire Officer Kieran Nolan.

Presenting her with the award, he said: “Carol didn’t want any fuss but it is important that we recognise what a brave thing she did.”

Mrs Bostock is now working back at the care home in Stowell Court with the three residents whose lives she saved.

It’s an old argument but human beings: are we merely wild animals who’ve learned to think - clever meat whose evolution provides instincts of group solidarity which sometimes help the species to survive? Or something more? A touch of angel, perhaps, or a fragment of deity?

To add to the above argument and not to take away from the huge courage involved, there’s the link below to an event nearby that’s the moral opposite of Carol Bostock’s heroism.

Pensioner attacked

Read that, compare it with the above story, and tell me poor housing alone make people evil, along with the lack of recreational facilities and ‘jobs.’


James Higham said...

Notlob News, no less. Truth in its purist form.

Anonymous said...

Why are there so many care homes in the Accrington area ? Autistic, Old folks, young folks with learning difficulties. The list goes on and on.
Lots of jobs I suppose but the residents can get away with stabbing their helpers who are on £5.60 an hour. Or less on the 'sleeping shifts'.

North Northwester said...

Ah well, the human spirit is alive and well even in mill towns as well as in Milton despite online yellow sheets.

And welcome Anonymous - I have no idea about Accrington, though you'll guess they have some experience of using up suddenly surplus housing.
Mind you, Fylde, Lancaster and Blackpool areas are the best. Must be that seaside air where the old dears like to stay.
and, yes, looking at what you've said, there's a lot of violence around and inflicted upon care workers in this neck of the woods. Some of it may go with the territory, but the Labour-voting old Industrial Revolution areas are densely populated with people who the Welfare State has mortally wounded and morally destroyed. This poor twisted little bastard, for one.


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