AN army reservist nurse and other military colleagues have been celebrated for their efforts on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus in Bury.

During the pandemic John Thornhill has been among those leading the battle against the outbreak at Fairfield General Hospital.

As a registered critical care nurse Mr Thornhill has been working on the Apollo 11 ward ­— where the sickest patients with Covid-19 have been treated.

He has worked at the hospital since he was 17-years-old and is also a serving army reservist, after joining in the first year of his nursing degree.

In the military he is a member of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps (QARANC); which has a close relationship with the Northern Care Alliance which runs Fairfield.

Speaking about his experiences in recent weeks, Mr Thornhill said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, the skills that I and other reservists within the NCA have learnt from our time within QARANC have been directly transferable to our clinical practice within the NHS, for example, setting up a Covid-19 intensive care unit with members of the team and multiple training for staff members not working in critical care.”

He added: “Applying to be a reservist is by far one of the best decisions I have made. I am an immensely proud member of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps.

“During my time in 207 I have been fortunate enough to have many positive experiences.

"For example, being part of field hospital exercises, both in the UK and abroad; working with allied nations such as the USA, and engaging with both our reserve and regular counterparts."

As part of Armed Forces Week, which ran between June 22 and 27, special tribute was paid to current and former military personnel for their efforts amid the pandemic.

Last week the Armed Forces Flag was raised at Fairfield Hospital at a ceremony attended by members of Bury Veterans Association.

Bury Times: The Armed Forces Flag being raised at Fairfield General Hospital, BuryThe Armed Forces Flag being raised at Fairfield General Hospital, Bury

The strong relationship between the NCA and the military goes back to 2018 when the organisation signed the Armed Forces Covenant.

Through this it pledged to become an armed forces friendly organisation and support the employment of veterans, young and old, at all its hospitals.

The NCA also pledged to support the family, partners and spouses of those serving in the armed forces.

Owen Dykes, Army chairman on the committee for the Borough of Bury Veterans Association, said: “The United Kingdom has some of the best armed forces in the world and everyone should be proud of them.

"Armed Forces Week is a chance for all generations to come together to celebrate and a chance to thank members of the armed forces for their selfless commitment in the defence of this great nation and their representation of the United Kingdom around the world.

“We were pleased to attend the service at Fairfield and to honour those current and former military personnel who work in our healthcare services, fighting on the frontline against Covid-19.”