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It’s not often that the dedication of someone to their career grabs the attention of a Prince, but the career of CHC Nurse Assessor Brenda Gray has led to an invitation to Buckingham Palace!

Nurses from across the country were invited to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the nursing profession. The Prince of Wales and the Countess of Wessex hosted the reception on behalf of the Queen in order to thank those engaged in frontline nursing across the United Kingdom. Over 350 guests represented nurses from throughout the profession, from hospitals to general practice to community nursing, nursing homes, and nurses in the armed forces and prisons.

With over four decades of dedicated service to nursing, Brenda was nominated by Lisa Llewelyn, Director of Nursing & Clinical Quality at the CCG, to attend the Reception at Buckingham Palace on 14th March.

Lisa Llewelyn said, “Brenda consistently participates in providing high quality, compassionate care and makes a real difference to the lives of patients who need continuing health care. It is important that we recognise the commitment and valuable contribution that Brenda has made to improve the lives of the patients and families she has cared for during her long nursing career. She is a credit to the nursing profession.

Brenda Gray said, “I would like to say thank you to Lisa Llewelyn for nominating me, which was a very nice surprise to have – it’s a lovely feeling to be recognised for my contribution to nursing.”

When asked about how things have changed for the NHS since she started out as a student nurse in 1977, Brenda said, “The advances in medical care over the last forty years have been immense and breath-taking. So many more people are surviving and not succumbing to illnesses that were considered untreatable all that time ago, and the quality of life for those that are ill has improved immensely. However much things have changed, I still believe nursing to be a vocation – your heart has to be in it and your main focus should be on the individual and their care. I have lost count of the amount of patients I have cared for in my career, some of them will always stay in my thoughts.”

Asked about the reception, Brenda said, “It was surreal to be at the Palace. It was an honour to be in the presence of Prince Charles and the Countess of Wessex, who circulated among the nurses to find out about their experiences. There was an overwhelmingly friendly welcome from the Palace staff, and it was brilliant to meet so many other colleagues from across the nursing spectrum.”

Brenda will be retiring from the NHS this Spring after over 40 years of nursing.

Brenda Gray in her first year of nursing, 1977, pictured right.