Major delighted with top nursing honour

editorial image

A Portrush woman has spoken of the “huge honour” of receiving a prestigious nursing award first conferred upon Florence Nightingale in the 1880s

Major Kerry McFadden-Newman of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps was awarded the Associate Royal Red Cross Medal (ARRC) for outstanding military nursing in March.

A total of 114 members of the armed forces and three civilians were named in the operational honours and awards list which recognised service on operations in Afghanistan and national operations from April to October 2013.

The first recipient of The Royal Red Cross was the famous British nurse Florence Nightingale for her work in the Crimea War at Scutari Hospital where she attended to injured and ill soldiers and officers.

“Normally just one ARRC award is conferred each year, it’s very prestigious,” Major McFadden-Newman told The Coleraine Times this week.

“It was first presented to Florence Nightingale by Queen Victoria so for me to have received it is a huge honour and one that I’m very proud of.”

Currently working as a nursing officer at 204 Field Hospital in Belfast - “it’s great to be home”, she says, Major McFadden-Newman was presented with her medal by HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, at Buckingham Palace in June. Attending the grand occasion with her husband and children, she said it was a thrilling experience.

“I was last in line,” she says, “150 people received awards that day. He seemed to know a little bit about me so we were able to have a good conversation about my work.

“He was charming, soft spoken and very well informed about the technical nature of what I did. It was a truly wonderful experience.”

Major McFadden-Newman was deployed to Afghanistan on Herrick 18 Operation last year - the second time she has served in the battle-torn country.

During an exemplary military career, which began in 2000, she has served in Kosovo, Iraq, Germany, Kenya and Jordan.

Having been schooled in Portrush and Portstewart she completed her nursing training in Bath before entering the army as a corporal. She rose through the ranks and became a Major in 2011.

In recognition of her outstanding achievement, the mayor of Coleraine, councillor George Duddy will host Major McFadden-Newman and her family at a special reception in Cloonavin this Friday.