Linda Colling: Think Pink for inspiration

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SELF belief, reliance and resilience is crucial for those who have seen their jobs go to the wall.

Take Amy Pink, a single mother of two from Humbledon who looks as if she has just stepped out of the pages of Vogue in her daring Burlesque lingerie designs she has turned into an internet business.

Inspired by the film Burlesque, jobless Amy, 30, jumped on the bandwagon of this sexy look which is taking off with a vengeance, launching Dangerous Couture.

With her model looks and matching sexy lingerie, she is inspirational, and everyone should take to heart her words: “Everyone is good at something.”

That was what fired her to create a business from her creations. Since a girl, she’s designed her own gear and had it made up.

Now a lingerie house is turning out her ultra-feminine bustiers, corsets and dresses.

Amy has embraced punk, rock, boho, vintage and femme fatale elegance.

She says: “I really want to achieve something. I want to be a role model for my kids and show people you can make your dreams come true if you are passionate about and enjoy doing something. You can do it in a business form whatever your passion.

“This venture is hopefully going to be a great one and in the future I hope to be able to employ more staff as this hits the international sites. My dreams are big and I am determined to make a success of this brand.“

Her corsets start at £22.99 and go up to around £75.99.

After one week in business, Amy has got off to a flying start with

IT’S like an amputation.”

The agony of my friend’s loss was etched in her face as she shared with me the final hours of her husband’s life in hospital.

The burden of grief is hard enough to bear without the anguish and anger that your loved one just didn’t get the care they needed as they ended their days.  

Then there’s the guilt that you should have done something more, spoken up, instead of keeping quiet in case the staff took it out on them.

And it’s happening all the time, as this week’s damning report by health service ombudsman, Ann Abraham revealed.

She highlighted ten tip-of-the-iceberg cases of inhumane treatment of the elderly, and thousands more will have their own harrowing experience of neglect and mistreatment to tell.

It’s just weeks ago since a life-long, lovely friend died in hospital. He was 94, and like so many, ended up there after a fall.

And like so many more needed care, kindness and compassion. Only there wasn’t enough staff to be able to look after him and the other eight men on his ward.

One nurse just wasn’t enough for seriously ill patients. And so he didn’t get a lot of care.

Food was brought round, and if you couldn’t reach the tray it just went cold and was taken away. You couldn’t be sure if he had had anything to eat or drink.

A true gentleman, he’d get upset when he wanted to go to the toilet and needed help and was told to wait.

The staff were very nice, but there just weren’t enough of them.

At first he was hoping to return home where he had led a wonderfully independent life, caring for his late wife.

He didn’t want to be in hospital, and when he realised he wouldn’t be able to go home and have to go into care, he just lost the will to live.

Another friend, whose husband died in intensive care, told me how there was just one nurse looking after her husband and three others while three nurses sat in the corridor being trained.

It is not only shocking, but frightening, what is going on in hospitals where the most fundamental basic standards of care are going begging – food, water and cleanliness.

As Ms Abraham stated: “The reasonable expectation that an older person or their family may have of dignified, pain-free, end-of-life care in clean surroundings is not being fulfilled.”

How damning her findings that “reveal an attitude – both personal and institutional – which fails to recognise the humanity and individuality of the people concerned, and to respond to them with sensitivity, compassion and professionalism.”

What she did find was a “dismissive attitude” and “apparent indifference ... to deplorable standards of care.”

While it is good news that spot checks on care for the elderly at 100 hospitals begins within weeks, I’m not holding my breath that it will change anything radically until there are more nurses.

We have a sick NHS system, and wonderful nurses who followed their vocation are now demoralised.

Not one doctor or nurse has been sacked or even disciplined over the appalling cases highlighted.

Kindness and compassion is in chronically short supply. So too is respect for older people.

And it’s not just in hospital that they are written off, but in society.

We disregard them. They aren’t seen as being of any value. More an inconvenience. While other cultures revere their old, we don’t.

In the past 25 years the number of people in Britain aged over 85 has doubled. More inconvenience?

That’s until you are one of them. It’s a daunting and frightening prospect growing old in our society, and terrifying that you may end your days disgracefully in hospital.