EIGHT members of Virgin Atlantic cabin crew have shared their experiences of supporting hospital patients.

They were flown in to help Royal Bolton patients and staff in health care assistant and patient liaison roles.

The flight crews were able to put customer service skills to good use, making sure patients have everything they need and assisting with video calls to family and friends.

As restrictions are lifted and international travel is opening up again, the airline staff have reflected and their lockdown roles.

Katie Mainwaring, who worked on G3 ward, said: “Getting used to working in a new environment and how fast paced a ward can be was quite challenging when I first started.

"Being able to be a friend to the patients has by far been the most rewarding aspect of my role.

"Asking them about their life outside of hospital and seeing them talk to family was always so heart-warming.

"It’s been a huge eye-opener working in a hospital and an absolute pleasure.

"Watching how calm the staff are when working under so much pressure is really inspiring and I’ve learnt that pushing yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone is a great way to learn new skills."

The crew certainly made an impact on crew and staff alike.

Kim Ashcroft, ward manager on G3, added: “It’s been great having members of the crew work with us as part of the team – they’ve added that extra element of something special to the ward.

"They’ve been extremely supportive, compassionate and caring, and our patients have really appreciated having someone to speak to them and help with all the little things that staff don’t always have time to do.

"Katie was fantastic with the patients and we’ve definitely missed her presence on the ward this week now that she’s returned to her job with Virgin Atlantic.”

Cabin crew members also worked alongside the enhanced care team to provide distraction therapies on some of the words.

Sue Povey, a flight service manager, and her daughter Mia, cabin crew, both work for Virgin Atlantic and have been based on ward B2.

They invested time in arranging a variety of activities for patients, including arts and crafts, read and even providing hand massages and manicures.

Sue said: “The most rewarding part is definitely being told by the patients that we are special, simply because we have taken the time to listen to them.

"The sheer dedication shown by the nurses is incredible and we will take so much back with us to Virgin Atlantic. It’s been an amazing experience for us both and we hope it doesn’t have to end when we return to the sky.”