NURSE Jay Abraham would have had the perfect excuse had she been late for work on her first day at Accrington's Springhill Care Home - she had travelled 5,000 miles to get there.
Despite her mammoth trek from her homeland of North India, the new recruit arrived in plenty of time to begin her new career caring for elderly and handicapped residents at the Fairfield Street home.
Keen to obtain nursing experience in Britain, Jay, 33, registered with a Manchester agency for work and they contacted Springhill as a potential employer.
Manager Kath Parkinson said: "There is a national shortage of qualified nurses so we are always on the lookout for suitable staff. We were extremely impressed with Jay's professional experience and references and had no hesitation in offering her a post. She is popular with residents and staff who have no trouble understanding her English. She certainly won't be commuting though!"
As part of their employment commitment, Springhill has provided accommodation for Jay, who hopes to be joined this spring by husband Sino, 34, who works for an Indian shipping company and their five-year-old daughter Neha.
Jay says: "It has been hard leaving them but we speak on the phone every few days. My mother-in-law is looking after Neha, so I know she is happy and in safe hands. Before I came here I was working in a small hospital in Kerala where the facilities were quite poor - nothing like here at Springhill."
Despite her three year training at Bangalore Medical College and her vast nursing experience, Jay will have to spend several months working as an auxiliary nurse at Springhill until she has worked through a Nursing and Midwifery Council adaptation programme with the help of Matron Cathy Dunn.
As well as looking forward to seeing her family again, Jay is keen to visit local sights. She admitted: "I haven't even been into Accrington town centre yet."
The only downside to her new life so far has been the distance she has had to travel to get here and, not surprisingly, the weather in the North West.
She added: "It was a long journey. I had to take three aeroplanes from Kerala to Bombay to London Heathrow and then to Manchester, so I was flying for 12 hours. Then when I arrived it was so cold..."