A POPULAR nurse has been recognised in the Queen’s Birth Honours list.

Winnie Chinery, 60, from Southend, has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for dedicating 40 years to nursing at Southend Hospital.

Originally from Airdrie, a small town in Scotland, Winnie began her nursing training there at the age of 19, before moving to Essex where she undertook her State Registered Nurse (SRN) training and nursing diploma.

Winnie spent many years as a theatre sister before moving on to governance after developing a passion for patient safety.

She is now retired but still works at the hospital two-days-a-week.

Speaking on her award, Winnie told the Echo: “I was completely shocked - I had to read the letter so many times.

“I’m just ordinary person, it’s amazing.

“I feel very humbled, very proud and very honoured.

“I have been a part of this profession for 40 years and I’m very proud of that.”

She added: “Staff within the NHS do not get the recognition they deserve.

“Theatre staff are such a passionate team of people; if you want to see what a team a looks like then see a theatre team.

“Everybody is as important as each other - they make it work.”

Not only has Winnie been awarded a BEM, the 60-year-old was also a finalist in the Nursing Times’ prestigious Nurse of the Year Award in 2014.

She added: “When I was a young nurse, things needed to change.

“There were a lot of changes being made to promote quality care within the hospital and there was a needed role for each department .

“I was very enthusiastic as I had just finished my nursing diploma so I was very keen to go into that role which is where I then found myself, and evolved from there.

“I feel privileged to have been able to have made changes during my career.

“We always work as part of a team, and I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for all the fantastic people I’ve worked with who are just as passionate as me.

“Patient safety is paramount and has evolved so much in a positive way to make patients safe - certainly in theatres.”

Winnie’s immensely husband, Tony, added: “We, as a family are so proud of Winnie, and her commitment to the NHS and her hard work in theatre.

“She is a role model. She undertook her training all while bringing up the family - our two lovely daughters, Anastacia, 25, and Victoria, 22.

“Her door is always open. It doesn’t matter who you are, what grade you are - from consultant, through to porters and cleaners.

“Anyone can always talk to her whether it’s with a personal or work-related issue.

“She is passionate on making sure patient’s have the safest journey while in theatre.”

Denise Townsend, director of nursing at Southend Hospital, said: “We are so pleased and proud that Sister Winnie Chinery has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

“It’s a fantastic testament to Winnie’s leadership and teamwork here at Southend, and we’re so happy her achievement has been acknowledged in this way – congratulations Winnie.”