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Child who charmed royals helps open mental health centre

A schoolgirl who charmed Prince Harry and Meghan helps declare open a child and adolescent mental health centre

A schoolgirl who captured the hearts of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex when she told them about her ambition to be a nurse has helped to officially open a new child and adolescent mental health centre.


Ten-year-old Maddison Ormond-Donnelly joins chief nursing officer Ruth May
to open a new child and adolescent mental health centre in the Wirral.  

Maddison Ormond-Donnelly hit the headlines when she told Prince Harry and Meghan that she wanted to train as a mental health nurse because there ‘aren’t enough of them’ during their visit to Birkenhead in January.

Prince Harry told her at the time: ‘You’ll be so proud of yourself if that’s what you can achieve.’

On Wednesday, 10-year-old Maddison joined England’s chief nursing officer Ruth May to formally open the Birch Centre, a new site for the Wirral’s child and adolescent mental health services.

Mini nursing uniforms

The centre, run by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, offers a variety of support including assessment, therapeutic interventions, consultation and training.

Maddison and Dr May were joined by Maddison's classmates from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Birkenhead, dressed in gender-neutral mini nursing uniforms.

Dr May has pledged this year to create a 5,000-strong team of nursing and midwifery ambassadors to go into schools to promote the professions as a career and tackle outdated stereotypes.

Watching on proudly was Maddison’s mother, Amy Donnelly, who works as a community mental health nurse at the trust.

Gold and silver awards

Maddison said of the uniform: ‘I feel so proud to wear one that says NHS because I know in the future I am going try the hardest I could ever try and pursue my dream as an NHS nurse.’

Dr May said feedback about the mini uniform had been positive, with many organisations and nurses themselves asking for uniforms for their children.

Ten-year-old Connor Woods, who was wearing one of the uniforms, said: ‘I would love to be a nurse because once I’ve helped somebody to recover it would make me so happy to know I can help save somebody’s life.’

Dr May also surprised the trust’s director of nursing Avril Devaney by presenting her with the chief nursing officer’s gold award, which is given in recognition of a lifetime achievement of nursing excellence. The chief nursing officer’s silver award was given to Nicky Robinson, the trust’s deputy head of clinical services, to acknowledge her contribution to mental health nursing.


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