Schoolgirl impresses Duke and Duchess with ambition to become a mental health nurse

Prince Harry tells Maddison Ormond-Donnelly ‘you’ll be so proud of yourself’

Prince Harry tells Maddison Ormond-Donnelly ‘you’ll be so proud of yourself’

Maddison Ormond-Donnelly (centre) meets Prince Harry in Birkenhead

A schoolgirl has captured the hearts of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after she told them she wanted to train as a mental health nurse because ‘there aren’t enough of them’.

Maddison Ormond-Donnelly met the royal couple on Monday as they walked around Hamilton Square in Birkenhead, during a tour of local community groups.

The ten year old is a prefect at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Birkenhead, and was chosen to go to see the Duke and Duchess during their visit.

Centre of attention

Her mother, Amy Donnelly, who works as a community mental health nurse at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership (CWP) NHS Foundation Trust, said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I finished work and got calls from people asking if I’d seen footage and photos of Maddison with Harry and Meghan.

Maddison is rather pleased to
meet the Duchess of Sussex

‘She said Meghan gave her a cuddle and asked what she wanted to be when she was older. Maddison said "a mental health nurse" and Meghan took her over to tell Harry, who asked why she wanted to join the profession.

‘Maddison said because there are not enough mental health nurses and she wanted to help people with mental health problems.

‘Harry said, "You’ll be so proud of yourself if that’s what you can achieve." She got a bit tearful, I think she was overwhelmed.’

The road to nursing

Ms Donnelly said she started working in the NHS as a cleaner in 2003, then became a support worker, before undertaking a foundation degree to become a band 4 assistant practitioner.

She said she had left school with no GCSEs, but was encouraged by health service managers to gain certificates in maths and English so she could study nursing.

‘I am now in my dream job and Maddison has been with me all the way. She asks me every day about it and is as passionate as I am.’

Infectious enthusiasm

CWP director of nursing, therapies and patient partnership Avril Devaney said: ‘We need people who are caring and focused, just like Maddison. I'm delighted to see such enthusiasm for our profession and hope this will inspire other young people.’

Maddison and other young people will be invited to hear her mother and other nurses speak about working in mental healthcare at an afternoon tea party that the trust will organise later in the year.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, together with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, lead Heads Together, a charity that aims to tackle stigma around mental ill health.

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