Northern Ireland health workers honored for leading fight against Covid

Richard pengelly

Many Northern Ireland health workers have been honored by the Queen after a year of leading the fight against the Covid pandemic.

Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said he was absolutely delighted to be named a Companion of the Order of the Bath, an honor he sees as recognition of the work of so many in the service. health.

The list of New Year’s Honors 2022 also includes Jimmy Chapman, 85, porter at Lisburn Health Center, who receives a British Empire Medal (BEM), John Johnston, Deputy Secretary of the Healthcare Policy Group at the Department of Health , who is named CBE, and Wendy Anderson, respiratory consultant, who is named MBE.

Ms Anderson, who works at the Northern Health and Social Care Trust, said respiratory teams were under great pressure during the pandemic.

She said: “I work with a fantastic team of fellow Respirators, a team of seven at Antrim and nine if you include Causeway. When that happened we all worked on our protocols and stepped up our weekends and everyone was back. “

Mr Pengelly told the PA News Agency: ‘My oldest son graduated just as the lockdown began in early 2020 in Salford, but his ceremony was postponed and postponed.

“It was postponed to November 30. I was in the departure lounge at (Belfast) City Airport on my first flight in two years when my phone rang, and it was the Cabinet Office email (about the ‘honor). It was the icing on the cake of a wonderful few days attending my son’s graduation ceremony.

“It’s been the most difficult role I’ve ever had, constantly under pressure, constantly difficult, but the highlights are so high in terms of some of the accomplishments, when we actually deploy a new service or make inroads, in because of the impact it has on people’s lives.

“You work with so many professionals who have dedicated their lives to studying and achieving professional excellence.

“I have spent a lot of time trying to get out and get around the system, in hospitals, GP offices, community services, and every time I go out I come back humbled by the compassion, the dedication and the simple effort of my colleagues. levels across the system.

“Sometimes there is a lazy tale that health care and social service is really about doctors and nurses, and doctors and nurses are absolutely fantastic and I hold them in the highest regard, all of our healthcare professionals. health, our porters, catering and cleaning staff, administrators, finance, HR, they are all an integral part of this healthcare continuum.

“I hope part of this award is recognizing those people who may not be in the spotlight, but without them we wouldn’t be providing health care. “

Lisburn Health Center porter Jimmy Chapman received the BEM in New Year’s honors (Liam McBurney / PA)

Lisburn Health Center porter Jimmy Chapman was so surprised when he received his notification from the BEM that he initially thought the letter was a summons to court.

He said: “I was really, really happy that someone thought a lot of me for giving me this award. I was delighted, on the moon. This is the first prize I receive.

“Everything has been a secret so far, but it means a lot to me and it will mean a lot to my family.”

This year’s list of honors also sees recognition from victims activist Kenny Donaldson, who is named MBE, whom he dedicated to all innocent victims of terrorism.

And Sean McCarry, regional commander of the Community Rescue Service in Northern Ireland, is appointed OBE.

He said: “For me it’s very simple – it’s recognition not of myself but of the community that supports the rescue service, the many volunteers, their families, for those past and present, who were involved, who built this organization.

Community Rescue Service Regional Commander Sean McCarry appointed OBE (Liam McBurney / PA)

Ian Marshall, the first Unionist politician ever elected to the Irish Seanad, was honored with an OBE.

He said: “I didn’t even know I was nominated, it came out of the blue.

“I was completely blinded by it.”

Northern Irish artist, illustrator and writer Oliver Jeffers, who now lives in New York City, has been appointed MBE.

He said: “I am very honored to receive this MBE for service to the arts.

“I hadn’t seen it coming, and it invigorates me to continue to use the power of art and stories to simplify the human message of connectedness.

“It is a lesson in humility to think of the people who have won this internationally recognized honor and to be included in their ranks.

“It’s a recognition shared with the team around me, who help me do what I do and spread my work to the world.”

A number of leading sports figures from Northern Ireland have also been recognized, with six-time superbike world champion Jonathan Rea becoming OBE, as have six-time Paralympic gold medalist Bethany Firth.

Six-time Paralympic gold medalist Jason Smyth becomes MBE, while former Olympian James McIlroy receives BEM for service to the sport.

Boxing coach Paul Johnston is named MBE for his work as a mentor to hundreds of young people, and Harland & Wolff Harriers club secretary Fred Magee also becomes MBE.