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Casualty stars join birthday celebrations of inspirational nurse

Real and fictional nurses gathered together at the weekend to celebrate the 70th birthday of Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu.
Elizabeth Anionwu

Real and fictional nurses gathered together at the weekend to celebrate the 70th birthday of Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

The emeritus professor of nursing at the University of West London was joined by family and friends for her party in the capital on 1 July.

Among the 300 guests were several actors from the hit BBC drama series Casualty Professor Anionwus daughter Azuka Oforka, who plays staff nurse Louise Tyler; her nephew Charles Venn, who plays staff nurse Jacob Masters; and Tony Marshall, who plays receptionist Noel Garcia.

She shares her birthday with Mr Venns six-year-old son Lucas, who was on hand to help blow out the

Real and fictional nurses gathered together at the weekend to celebrate the 70th birthday of Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu

Elizabeth Anionwu
70th birthday celebrations: Elizabeth Anionwu (second from left) with her daughter
Azuka Oforka (left) and other actors from BBC's Casualty – Charles 'Chucky' Venn
(third from left) and Tony Marshall (with hat). Picture: David Gee

The emeritus professor of nursing at the University of West London was joined by family and friends for her party in the capital on 1 July.

Among the 300 guests were several actors from the hit BBC drama series Casualty – Professor Anionwu’s daughter Azuka Oforka, who plays staff nurse Louise Tyler; her nephew Charles Venn, who plays staff nurse Jacob Masters; and Tony Marshall, who plays receptionist Noel Garcia.

She shares her birthday with Mr Venn’s six-year-old son Lucas, who was on hand to help blow out the candles on the cake.

During the celebrations Professor Anionwu also signed copies of her memoirs, Mixed Blessings from a Cambridge Union.

Children's home inspiration

The celebrated nurse was born in Birmingham in 1947, after her parents met while at Cambridge University. Until the age of nine, she lived in a Catholic children’s home, while her mother attempted to find work after her father returned to Nigeria.

It was in the children’s home that she made up her mind to become a nurse, following in the footsteps of the nun who distracted her by making her laugh while treating her painful eczema.

Professor Anionwu told Nursing Standard: 'It's a bit hard to realise that I have now reached 70 years old.

‘My family and friends, many of them nurses, helped me to celebrate my birthday in style and dance the night away.’

Professor Anionwu also founded the Mary Seacole Centre for Nursing Practice, at the University of West London and was present at an event on Thursday (29 June) to launch a trust in her name.


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