The nurse who helped inspire Bob Geldof to create the Band Aid charity has been made a Dame in the New Years honours list.
Claire Bertschinger worked as a Red Cross nurse in famine-hit Ethiopia in the 1980s, and after watching an interview where she spoke of the tragedy she was witnessing, Bob Geldof was moved to set up Band Aid, and then the Live Aid concert.
Now director of tropical nursing studies at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Ms Bertschinger said she was deeply moved to have been honoured.
She said: “I am deeply grateful for my experiences as a nurse, whether joy-filled or painful, and in accepting this most prestigious award I hereby renew my continued commitment to increase female education and independence in the drive to eradicate poverty and ill-health in the developing world.”
A number of nurses were made MBEs in the honours, including Barbara Grant, clinical nurse manager at NHS Fife, who was rewarded for 18 years’ work in developing ophthalmologic services, and Marie Byrne, deputy association director of nursing at Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, who played a key role in the hospital’s treatment of military personnel.
She said: “Everyone has played a huge role in developing our treatment of military patients: housekeeping staff, porters, catering and administration staff, as well as the clinical teams in the labs, theatres and wards. This award is for all of them, not just for me.”
MBEs also went to Trevor Patton, principal nursing officer at the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Pauline Handy, clinical lead nurse in genitor-urinary medicine at Newcastle General Hospital, Susan Greenwood, a specialist community public health nurse in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Jane Jones, former senior nurse at Eryri Hospital, Caernarfon, and Annette Rushton, former matron at Severn Hospice, Shrewsbury.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital Foundation Trust chief executive Heather Lawrence, a former nurse and current member of the Prime Minister’s Commission on the Future of Nursing and Midwifery, was also made an OBE.