THEY are the unsung heroes who go above and beyond to make life better for patients being treated in our city’s hospitals.

But last night their tireless work and boundless determination was celebrated at a special ceremony to honour Southampton’s hospital heroes.

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From a porter who often stays after his shift to help transfer patients, to the chemotherapy team who ensured a seamless service despite location difficulties, all those who go that extra mile for their patients were given their moment in the spotlight.

A total of 14 prestigious gongs were handed out at the Novotel Southampton as University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust hosted its annual staff awards. The awards were presented by Geoff Holt, who has overcome disability to excel in sailing.

The Daily Echo once again joined forces with the trust, which runs Southampton General, the Princess Anne Hospital and Countess Mountbatten Hospice, to track down those who have gone beyond their duty to bring a smile to those suffering.

This year there were seven nominees for the Daily Echo’s Hospital Heroes Readers Choice Award.

But it was nurse Gemma Pearson, from the Bramshaw ward at the Princess Anne Hospital, who walked away with the honour after being nominated by one of her patients, Caroline Atrill.

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Daily Echo Hospital Hero winner Gemma Pearson with editor Ian Murray, left, and guest of honour Geoff Holt.

Not only was Nurse Pearson there for Caroline throughout her treatment after having a cyst removed, but her dedication to her patients inspired Caroline to change careers and go into the caring profession.

Caroline, from Marchwood, said: “She really went above and beyond for me and everyone else that she treats. She inspired me to get into the caring profession because I knew I wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, just like she has on mine.”

After winning the award Nurse Pearson, below, said: “I feel privileged to win. It was a shock to be nominated and to win is an even better feeling.

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“To have Caroline here was also great as I have not seen her since she was in the hospital.

“It’s nice to see how you have helped somebody and to see they appreciate your help.”

Daily Echo editor-in-chief Ian Murray praised the awards as the most uplifting ceremony he attends each year.

He said: “It’s always a wonderful experience to be included in these tremendous awards with so many heroes. It’s just a shame that many more could not be winners.”


  • Chief executive’s employee of the year: Winner – Arvin Pagkaliwangan, porter, below with chief executive Fiona Dalton and Geoff Holt.

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Runner-up – Colin Hubbard, advanced nurse practitioner cardiac surgery

  • Team of the Year: Winner – C3 chemotherapy/daycase team, cancer care, below.

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Runners-up – Anaesthetic trauma team, critical care and Ward D3, medical oncology

  • Chairman’s award for leadership: Winner – Andrew White, radiography lead for imaging infrastructure support service

Runner-up – Melanie Watson, principal genetics counsellor, Wessex clinical genetics service

  • Education and training: Winner – Trustwide education team, below, delivering nursing overseas induction and education

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Runner-up – Linda Johnson, senior sister, critical care

  • Equality and diversity: Winner – Rita Patrick, below, chair of long-term illness and disability focus group

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Runner-up – Long-term illness and disability group

  • Patient experience: Winner – Stephen Hicks, ward leader, G9 medicine for older people

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Runner-up – Hospital Palliative Care team, cancer care

  • Patient safety: Winner – Dr Paul Diprose and Dr Mike Herbertson, consultant anaesthetists

Runner-up – Dr Adriana Basarab, consultant medical microbiologist, pathology

  • Southampton Hospital Charity star award: Winner – Acute Medical Unit team, below.

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Runner-up – Sarah Hartfree, paediatric rheumatology nurse specialist

  • Gift of time: Winner – Dan Ridout, below.

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Runner-up – Heather Parsons

  •   Unsung Heroes: Winner –  Susan Cousens, academic organiser, below

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Runner-up – Arvin Pagkalinawan, theatre porten

  • Clinical impact through research: Winner – Professor Nick Clarke, below, consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon

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  • Innovation: Winner – Clinical biochemistry team, below.

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Runner-up – Foundation forum team

  • Research individual or team of the year: Winner – Tim Underwood, below, consultant surgeon/MRC clinician scientist

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  • Daily Echo’s Reader’s Choice Award Winner: Gemma Pearson, staff nurse, pictured below with patient Caroline Atrill who nominated her.

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Runner-up – Caroline Hampton, Macmillan head and neck thyroid clinical nurse specialist