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Ethel Armstrong receives MBE for seven decades of service to the NHS

Ms Armstrong was a nurse cadet when the NHS began in 1948

A nurse cadet who was working for the NHS on the day the service began 70 years ago has received an MBE at Buckingham Palace.


Ethel Armstrong with her MBE medal at Buckingham Palace

Ethel Armstrong retired in 1987 after a long career that included work in radiography and radiotherapy. However, at the age of 87, she still volunteers for the health service as chair of the NHS Retirement Fellowship charity. 

Ms Armstrong was recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours for her seven decades of dedicated service to healthcare and her continuing involvement in the charity.

‘Completely bowled over’

The Prince of Wales presented her with the MBE on 15 March. Speaking after the ceremony, Ms Armstrong said: ‘I am completely bowled over to have been recognised by Her Majesty the Queen for my work for the NHS.

‘I never expected to receive such a prestigious accolade for doing something I love.'

She added: ‘The NHS is part of who I am, and I have been proud and lucky enough to have been there at the start of this wonderful institution.

‘It's a particular honour to receive this in the year that the NHS turns 70, and I see this as a nod to all the special people I've had the privilege of working for over the decades.’

Praise from England’s chief nurse

Ms Armstrong received personal congratulations from the chief nursing officer for England Jane Cummings.

Professor Cummings said: ‘Huge congratulations to Ethel on this well-deserved public recognition of her inspiring career and public service.

‘In the year that the NHS turns 70, it is fitting that we pay tribute and say thank you to the extraordinary people like Ethel who go the extra mile, year in, year out to provide patient care and truly make a difference.’


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