Nurses recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list earlier this year have been presented with their British Empire Medals.
Mary Richardson and Sue Lewis both work for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust and, between them, have 83 years’ service. They were among over 30 nurses included in this year’s birthday honours to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the NHS.
Ms Lewis is the trust’s specialist paediatric epilepsy nurse and has worked with and cared for children and young people since 1986.
She developed an interest in childhood epilepsy early in her career when, in addition to her nursing job she also cared for a young child with severe epilepsy for a few hours per week.
Having gained knowledge and qualifications around this complex condition, she was instrumental in setting up the specialist service and became the trust’s first specialist paediatric epilepsy nurse.
“We are all very proud of Sue and Mary and the thousands of staff like them”
She now works full time with children and young people with epilepsy and in support of their families.
She also ensures professional colleagues are up to date with all aspects of epilepsy and runs a clinic for young people as they transition from children’s to adult care.
Ms Lewis said: “I absolutely love my job and feel very fortunate to be able to support and care for young patients and their families.
“To be given a British Empire Medal is very humbling and I accept it on behalf of all the members of our brilliant team,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ms Richardson has worked for the NHS for 51 years, caring for patients in hospital and community settings.
She has been instrumental in developing services, particularly for the most vulnerable and less able patients, said her trust.
It said she “embraces change but, at the same time, her leadership has illustrated that ‘old school values’ of nursing are very relevant in society today” and who “goes the extra mile”.
“The dedication and selflessness of Sue and Mary is awe inspiring”
The trust described her as a “selfless practical nurse” who, for example, will hang out a patient’s washing or buy groceries in her own time when she’s seen a real need. “It’s this unconditional kindness that sets her apart,” said the trust.
Ms Richardson undertook a BSc Hons, in community nursing at the age of 57 and is currently a district nursing sister.
Commenting on the award, she said: “I will treasure this British Empire Medal and am delighted to accept it on behalf of nurses across the NHS who work tirelessly every day to give our patients the very best care.”
Sue Snowdon, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of County Durham, presented the award and said: “The dedication and selflessness of Sue and Mary is awe inspiring.
“We are very lucky to have nurses and other healthcare professionals working across services in County Durham,” she said.
Noel Scanlon, director of nursing at County Durham and Darlington, said: “In the 70th year since the foundation of the NHS, health workers made up one in eight of people recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
“We are all very proud of Sue and Mary and the thousands of staff like them who have dedicated their lives to the care of the sick and their families,” he added.
Mary Richardson and Sue Lewis