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Prince Harry honours ‘inspirational’ children’s nurses

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Prince Harry last night praised the work of specialist paediatric nurses caring for seriously ill children, young people and their families at an awards ceremony in London.

His Royal Highness and a host of celebrities recognised nurses, carers and others who have “gone the extra mile” to make a difference to the lives of sick children at the 2014 WellChild Awards.

Also honoured at the ceremony were the children and young people who have shown exceptional courage in the face of serious illnesses and complex conditions.

This year’s winners include Jo Collins, a matron at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Bernadette O’Gorman, a paediatric community matron at Whittington Health, and David Widdas, a consultant nurse at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Meanwhile, nurses from the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice Team won the WellChild Best Team Award.

The annual awards ceremony, run by the national charity for sick children, was held at the Hilton in Park Lane. The ceremony was attended by many other WellChild’s supporters, including Vernon Kay and Pixie Lott.

In his speech as patron of the charity, Prince Harry highlighted the “inspirational” stories heard at the awards ceremony.

He also thanked the charity’s network of specialist children’s nurses for the “fantastic job” they did in providing practical and emotional support to children with serious or complex care needs and their families.

The award winners were chosen from thousands of nominations by a judging panel consisting of leading health professionals and some of the sick children themselves.

A full list of award winners and their achievements is available on the WellChild website. See below for details of the nurses who won awards for their work:


Nurse winners at the WellChild Awards 2014


Team Award sponsored by Healthcare at Home

Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice (Judith McAuley, Roisin Rudley, Grace Stewart, Ruth Graham, Alana Amersham, Sharon McCluskey)

This exceptional team has responded to the needs of long-term ventilated children and their families working tirelessly to provide a high quality alternative option for those families experiencing protracted discharge from hospital.  In particular their ‘Step-Down’ care initiative has introduced a more home-like hospice environment for some children in order to give them a gentle transition back home. It is hoped the model will offer guidance to other hospice organisations who are attempting to develop this type of care in the future.

WellChild Awards 2014

Nurses from Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice meets Prince Harry


Above and Beyond Award sponsored by Healthcare at Home

Bernadette O’Gorman

Berni is the Community Matron in charge of Life Force Children’s Palliative Care Service in London. She has been with the Life Force team since it began, supporting families in the community with children who are at the end of their life or have life-limiting conditions. She has grown and developed the service from just a couple of members of staff. Nominator, WellChild Nurse Diane Miles said: “Berni shows compassionate care to the families.  She will always go the extra mile to assist and support families. As team leader she is approachable supportive, caring and leads by example.”

WellChild Awards 2014

Bernadette O’ Gorman and husband Robert meet Prince Harry


Impact in Child Health Award sponsored by Venture Photography

David Widdas

David is a Consultant Nurse for Children with Complex Health Care Needs in South Warwickshire. He was nominated for being a great communicator and advocate for children and families. He has also given much time to developing clinical documents and led strategy for children’s health charities which has had a national impact to help children with complex needs. His PhD at Coventry University is important as it explores children with their ventilation needs and impact on their families. David was part of the team who worked with Professor Jane Coad to develop an online Masters programme for Children’s Complex and Palliative Care in Coventry University. This is the first programme of its kind in the UK.

WellChild Awards 2014

David Widdas meets Prince Harry


Nurse Award sponsored by Martin & Co

Jo Collins

Jo is Senior Nurse for the Children’s Continuing Care Team in East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. Over 12 years she has established an excellent service, always going the extra mile so that children with complex health needs are cared for safely at home. Jacinta Dunlea, Nursing Services Manager said: “Jo shows real compassion as a true advocate for the children, young people and families she supports and the nursing team she leads.”

WellChild Awards 2014

Jo Collins and husband Gary Harvey meet Prince Harry

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