An Army veteran who fought a mental health condition is volunteering at Bowmere Hospital in Chester to help patients relax having spent six weeks as an inpatient there herself.
Nicola Banks spent 11 years in the Army but was medically discharged in 2013 after numerous physical injuries and was later diagnosed with a mental health condition.
The 31-year-old beauty therapist, who now works at Regis Hair and Beauty in The Grosvenor Shopping Centre, then returned home to Chester where she was treated as an inpatient by specialists at the CWP NHS Foundation Trust facility.
Since leaving the Army Nicola has re-trained as a beauty therapist at West Cheshire College, where she was named Student Of The Year in year one and Most Supportive Student in her second year of the course.
Nicola has taken her newfound skills back to the hospital by offering hand and arm massages and nail painting to inpatients.
Julie Webb, The Grosvenor Shopping Centre manager, said: “We are really proud of Nicola’s efforts at Chester Bowmere.
“We are sure that Nicola’s volunteering will help many people that are suffering and we wish her the best of luck.”
Nicola added: “It feels really amazing to be able to give back to the hospital that helped me through such a difficult time.
“It is so important to me that I support people who are in the same position that I was, by bringing some normality back to their lives.”
Nicola’s comments come in the same week Prince Harry was praised for speaking out about his own mental health issues in the wake of the death of his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales.
Emma Lawrence, manager at Regis Hair and Beauty, added: “Nicola’s efforts are an absolute credit to our salon. Nicola’s clients always feel 100% looked after and always return for further appointments.
“Nicola’s work at The Bowmere just shows how selfless she is and how much she wants to help others by doing what she loves.”