A nurse from Tadley has been awarded an MBE by the Queen in recognition of her work during the pandemic.

Arlene Wellman is the chief nurse at the Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust in South London and has responsibility for the organisation's nursing, midwifery and healthcare support workforce.

The Trust, where she has worked since 2018, say she played an "integral" role in the hospitals' response to the Covid-19 pandemic and is also behind key improvements in recent years.

Arlene grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, and now lives in Tadley.

The mother-of-four said: “I am truly humbled to be awarded an MBE, and was very surprised to be told I would be receiving an honour – it hasn’t really sunk in yet!

“Growing up in Trinidad and Tobago, I knew from an early age that I wanted to help people, and a career in nursing has allowed me to do just that.

"I am proud to be a nurse, and proud to lead the wonderful, caring team at Epsom and St Helier.

"In fact, this recognition is acknowledgement of all that we have achieved together, and I remain grateful for all of the hard work and dedication that our nurses, midwives and healthcare support workers show on a daily basis.

"I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to the teams of Epsom and St Helier, who always go above and beyond and have shown a remarkable level of courage and compassion during the past difficult year.”

Meanwhile the Trust's Chief Executive Daniel Elkeles, said: “We could not be prouder of Arlene. She is an exceptional nursing leader, and thoroughly deserves this amazing recognition for the outstanding work she has done.

"Throughout her time at Epsom and St Helier, Arlene has been a visible leader, listening to staff and advocating for the professional skills of our nurses, midwives and healthcare support workers.

"Her commitment truly came into sharp focus during Covid-19, as she helped shape our organisation’s response to the pandemic, moved quickly to make changes and improvements in very difficult circumstances, and worked hard to ensure staff were safe and secure at work, and their wellbeing remained a priority.”

As well as the role of chief nurse, she acts as director of infection prevention and control, as well as being the executive lead for equality, diversity and inclusion.

She helped the Trust establish a network called REACH, which stands for Race Equality and Cultural Heritage, and is also their Baby Friendly guardian, meaning she promotes UNICEF's Baby Friendly initiative at the trust.