EAST Cheshire NHS Trust ICU consultant Marc Lyons is one of 12 individuals from across the NHS whose powerful portraits were captured by renowned photographer Rankin.

Rankin offered to take portraits of people who played a critical role in managing the response to the coronavirus pandemic as a tribute and to mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.

Those photographed include a Covid-19 critical care nurse, midwife, psychiatrist, hospital porter, Covid-19 ward cleaner, paramedic, GP, pharmacist, district nurse, 111 call centre worker and a chief information officer.

Marc works for the East Cheshire NHS Trust in the intensive care unit at Macclesfield Hospital.

He said: “It was a total surprise to be chosen, and I was never going to turn it down; something like this doesn’t happen every day.

“Rankin took the time to find out about me beforehand, and I really enjoyed the whole experience.

“I’ve had Covid-19. One day I felt I was resisting a cough, and by the evening I was coughing consistently. I felt dreadful for 10 days, and even after most of the symptoms were over I felt really fatigued.

“While receiving a test which confirms you are positive can be intimidating it freed me to safely plan how to get back to work.

“I’m a consultant in anaesthetics and intensive care medicine. There have been huge changes since the start of the pandemic.

“East Cheshire NHS Trust is a small hospital trust, and it’s been a big challenge to accommodate the surge in patients.

“Luckily, one advantage of working in a smaller hospital is that we are a tight-knit team, so everyone has banded together, mobilised at speed and made it work.

“We’re living through some tough times, but they make me thankful for my military training in the Army Reserve.

“One figure I’ve always looked up to is Capt Noel Chavasse, a military doctor who is one of only three people to receive a double Victoria Cross for his heroism in the First World War.

“Capt Chavasse’s story sets a high bar for service and sacrifice. He died of his injuries saving wounded men at Passchendaele, and I was privileged enough to visit his grave at Ypres a few years ago.

“He’s a tough act to follow, but the everyday bravery I’ve seen from my colleagues during this outbreak has been just as incredible.

“I am not in a high-risk group, but I know others who are, and they have found a way to play their part. Every one of them is just as much of a hero.

“Outside of work my family mean the world to me. I live with my wife and two boys who are aged six and four.”

Rankin said: “As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, I was moved by the incredible efforts of people across the NHS, and I wanted to document who they are and their role in fighting this disease.

“Taking a portrait is a unique and intimate experience, even with social distancing in place. Everyone had their own inspiring story which to them was just doing their job.

“I hope these images portray the resilience and courage they show every day in the face of real adversity.”