NHS nurse,62, who worked on frontline hailed a 'true hero'

NHS nurse, 62, who came out of retirement to work on Covid frontline is hailed a ‘true hero’ after receiving British Empire Medal – as she insists it was ‘no problem’ because she’ll ‘always be a nurse’

  • Cath Fitzsimmons, 62, had retired from nursing after 42 years working for NHS 
  • Helped her team to set up online calls for families who could not visit loved ones
  • Told on GMB it was not a difficult decision for her to help on the Covid frontline
  • Viewers called the selfless nurse a true ‘example of those who deserve awards’  

A nurse who came out of retirement to work on the Covid frontline has been hailed a ‘true hero’ after receiving a British Empire Medal in the New Year Honours. 

Cath Fitzsimmons, 62, had retired from NHS nursing after 42 years but returned to Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester in April. 

She helped her team to set up online calls for families who could not go into hospitals to visit critically ill relatives, and said she felt ‘extremely honoured and very, very emotional’ to receive the medal. 

Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, Cath told how she immediately knew she wanted to help at the beginning of the pandemic, and viewers called her ‘an example of those who truly deserve awards’. 

‘It wasn’t a problem at all,’ she said of her decision to get involved. ‘I thoroughly enjoyed being a nurse and I started early and I’ll always be a nurse.’ 

Cath Fitzsimmons (pictured) , 62, had retired from NHS nursing after 42 years but returned to Salford Royal Hospital in Greater Manchester in April

She helped her team to set up online calls for families who could not go into hospitals to visit critically ill relatives

Speaking of receiving her honour, she said: ‘I received a letter in the post and had to read it five or six times, it wasn’t sinking in. 

‘I was quite shocked but I also felt very emotional when I was reading the letter. I remembered all the staff and patients and family I have met since April and I was reflecting on the amazing team I worked with. 

‘I’m just a very small element of a fantastic teams, palliative care and bereavement teams at Salford royal, so I was very, very emotional and delighted’. 

Viewers quickly took to Twitter to praise the nurse’s compassion, calling her a ‘sweet, selfless woman’ and saying how grateful they are to NHS staff battling on the Covid frontline.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, Cath told how she immediately knew she wanted to help at the beginning of the pandemic

Cath told how difficult she found it being able to support patients and families while wearing full PPE

 ‘A true hero’, wrote one viewer. 

Another said: ‘She is an example of those who deserve awards, unlike someone who earns millions driving a fast car around a track.’ 

A third commented: ‘What a sweet, selfless woman. I love what she said when asked about how the staff have managed to get through it: ‘Show a little extra kindness, it goes a long way’. How true that is for everyone. So grateful to those staff in hospitals for taking care of the ones we love.’ 

Speaking about the challenges she faced during the pandemic, Cath told how difficult she found it being able to support patients and families while wearing full PPE. 

Viewers quickly took to Twitter to praise the nurse’s compassion, calling her a ‘sweet, selfless woman’ and saying how grateful they are to NHS staff battling on the Covid frontline

‘I found PPE very difficult’, she said, ‘I felt I was almost in a disguise. I had to focus with my eyes and voice to make sure I was supporting patients to the best of my ability.’ 

Despite the difficulties she faced, Cath said it was an easy decision to help her fellow healthcare workers in April.   

‘It wasn’t a difficult decision for me at all to be honest’, she said, ‘I offered as soon as we knew there were potential problems going forward. I said, “Please let me help”.’

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