A royal seal of approval for Mary

Prince Harry meets Mary Jeans, winner of WellChild Nurse Award, with daughter Catrin
Prince Harry meets Mary Jeans, winner of WellChild Nurse Award, with daughter Catrin

Mary Jeans, from South Ayrshire Health & Social Care Partnerships Health Visiting Team has been named as a winner in the prestigious national 2016 WellChild Awards.

She collected her prize at the Dorchester, Park Lane, London on October 3rd having been nominated by a colleague.

Mary, who is a Health Visitor, was picked from 100s of nominations from across the UK to win the category of Inspirational Nurse in these Awards which celebrate the courage of children coping with serious illnesses or complex conditions and honour the dedication of professionals who go the extra mile to help sick children and their families. The Awards are run by WellChild, the national charity for seriously ill children.

Mary was nominated for the award by Aileen Crichton who is WellChild Children’s Nurse for Ayrshire and Arran. Aileen said: “Mary is a health visitor beyond compare. I have been working with sick children for 38 years and have never come across a health visitor who gives as Mary does. Mary really cares for the children and the families and provides much more than her job role.”

Aileen gave a recent example of Mary’s work with children in the community supporting a family with a child who was at end of life. Mary was proactive in dealing with issues that arose and dealt with them sensitively. She coordinated a complex support plan to ensure the holistic needs of the child and family were met to enable the child to return home from hospital. This included the practical needs of the family who were in the middle of moving home.

“The support that Mary offered this family was amazing and she had been supporting them since the child’s birth,” said Aileen.

Prince Harry and a host of celebrities recognised the award winners at the Dorchester, Park Lane, London. Also honoured at the prestigious star–studded ceremony run by WellChild – the national charity for seriously ill children - were dedicated professionals, volunteers, brothers and sisters who have gone the extra mile to make a difference to the lives of seriously ill children, young people and their families. The ceremony was attended by many of WellChild’s celebrity supporters as well as Prince Harry.

Speaking at the 2016 WellChild Awards ceremony, Prince Harry said: “This is now my ninth WellChild awards and each year at this remarkable event, I am profoundly moved by the people I have met and the stories they have shared with me.

It is one of those moments in life when you are left in awe at the strength of human character, particularly amongst those so young. Watching these children and young people face challenges with such determination, positivity and good humour, never fails to take my breath away.”

With hundreds of nominations received from across the country, the difficult job of choosing winners in all WellChild Award categories is given, each year, to an esteemed panel of judges. That panel consists of leading health professionals and others with an interest in children’s health and includes children and young people who face serious illness themselves.

WellChild’s Director of Programmes, Linda Partridge, is also a member of that panel. She said: “It is a tremendous challenge to select winners from the many, many truly amazing nominations we receive from all over the country. All the panel members are moved by the bravery of the children, the stories of selfless care and support and the dedication of the doctors, nurses, teachers, brothers and sisters who make a great difference to the lives of seriously ill children and young people.

“The Awards are a perfect demonstration of WellChild’s commitment to helping as many seriously ill children and their families as we can and embody our aim of raising awareness of their needs. We are grateful to GSK for their continued support of this incredible event.”

At this star-studded event, the winners will meet a host of WellChild celebrity supporters, who attend each year to celebrate the courage of brave children and honour the dedicated work of the country’s health professionals. In addition to Royal Patron, Prince Harry, previous WellChild Award evenings have been attended by rock legend Rod Stewart with his wife Penny Lancaster Stewart, comedian Russell Howard, pop singer Pixie Lott, actress Barbara Windsor, pop band Scouting for Girls, Dragon’s Den star Duncan Bannatyne, TV presenters Vernon Kay and Tess Daly and many more.