The week in good news: heroes, heroines and honours


When spring still seems far away and stress levels get difficult to handle, a weekly dose of good news can lift up your spirit.

Whether it is a small gesture that made a big difference, or a big event which celebrated hard work and resilience in the face of adversity, here’s our pick of good news stories that happened over the past week in Manchester.

Asda staff prove not all heroes wear capes

Photo: Asda Corporate

Last week the Manchester Evening News reported that a Salford mum has praised the staff at Asda in Swinton for going out of their way to make her autistic son feel valued. They let Callum scan his own shopping and make his own pizza.

Calum’s condition makes it very difficult for him to understand and deal with his emotions and having a routine helps him feel safe. The MEN added that his attachment to Maddison Greenhaigh, from the pizza counter who routinely helps him, significantly improved his wellbeing.

His mum, Angela, wrote a hearfelt letter to thank them, saying:

“Before all of this, Calum’s confidence was really low and he even believed that people and other children at school didn’t like him. Now he’s enjoying school.

“We’ve seen a big change in Calum since he’s become friendly with the staff and I simply cannot thank them enough for putting the smile on his face that we haven’t seen in a long time.”

The store management were reportedly overwhelmed by her gesture, the MEN wrote, and decided to surprise Calum with a gift bundle, a pizza with his name on it and his very own Asda colleague T-shirt and a personalised apron.

University honour for Christie consultant

Hans-Ulrich Laasch, a senior radiologist at The Christie, has been honoured with a professorship from the University of Chester following his ground-breaking work with students looking at extending the life of stents used in cancer care.

Stents are small, flexible metal tubes that can be inserted into a patient’s body to relieve blockages caused by, for example, oesophageal or bowel cancer, and help to manage symptoms.

Prof Laasch, who has two daughters and lives in Stockport, has worked at specialist cancer hospital The Christie, in Manchester, for 12 years. He is now a visiting professor at the University of Chester’s Department of Natural Sciences.

He has conducted valuable research in hepatobiliary (liver, gallbladder, bile ducts) intervention, gastrointestinal (stomach and bowel) stents, nutritional support and sedation.

He has also been working with students and materials specialists at the University of Chester who have achieved impressive results in the field of metal degradation, helping to understand the failure mechanisms so the life of metal stents can be extended and patients do not have to have them replaced so often.

Prof Laasch said: “We’ve had astounding results from the students in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Chester and the resonance from abroad has been excellent.

“I’m delighted to have been made a visiting professor by the university. It is testament to all the hard work the Christie interventional team has delivered over the last few years and the research undertaken on top of the full-time clinical work.”

New Pankhurst sculpture marks the beginning of centenary anniversary since women gained the right to vote

A new sculpture of Emmeline Pankhurt was unveiled last Monday at The Pankhurst Trust by actress Julie Hesmondhalgh, to launch the centenary year of the first women achieving the right to vote in the UK.

The Pankhurst Trust teamed up with Girl Gang Manchester and Everything’s Sweet Threads to organise the event, which featured art, fashion and live music. Guests for the sold out event gathered at 62 Nelson Street, the former home of Emmeline Pankhurst and her family, and the place where the Suffragette movement took flight.

The event kickstarted a monumental year of celebration of 100 years since the first women gained the right to vote.

Julie Hesmondhalgh said: “I am proud to be here tonight celebrating the wonderful Pankhurst Centre, which is a huge part of Manchester and Britain’s social history.  2018 is the Year of the Woman and our chance to make a difference.  We want to put the Pankhurst Centre on the map turning it into an internationally recognised museum marking the achievements of all those who have fought for equality.”


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