Retired Willington nurse honoured by national charity

Rita Henman
Award-winning Rita Henman

A retired Bedfordshire nurse from Willington has been highly commended by national charity, Sue Ryder, for her ‘Outstanding Contribution’ to families needing expert and compassionate palliative care.

Rita Henman, who nursed at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger, received the recognition at the palliative, neurological and bereavement support charity’s ‘Incredible Colleagues Awards’, held in Leeds yesterday (Tuesday 8 October).

After 42 years serving and caring for the local community in Bedfordshire, 22 of these years as a Sue Ryder Nurse, Rita recently retired.

Her Sue Ryder nursing career has seen Rita support hundreds of local Bedfordshire families both as part of the team operating the 24 hour Palliative Care Hub helpline supporting families in their own homes, and providing expert and compassionate palliative care in the hospice’s specialist inpatient unit.

On receiving her commendation Rita said, “Today has been a wonderful experience celebrating with Sue Ryder colleagues from every corner of the country.

“It was quite overwhelming to be there among so many inspiring people and I am delighted to have received a Highly Commended Award from the charity that means so much to me.”

“Not only does Sue Ryder help people at end of life, but they help loved ones and families recover after they have experienced loss so they can carry on living too. It has been a huge honour to be part of the team supporting families in Bedfordshire.”

Despite retiring, Rita is not leaving Sue Ryder completely, already signing herself up to volunteer at the retail shop on site at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice.

Rita added, “It is so lovely to be carrying on helping to support a place which I hold so dear to my heart.

“It means so much to feel like I am still doing my bit for a charity that makes such a huge difference to so many people.”

Allison Mann, Interim Hospice Director at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice said, “It was a privilege to be with Rita as she received her highly commended award and be among so many of inspiring Sue Ryder volunteers and colleagues.

“We simply could not be there for local families when it matters without their commitment, dedication and compassion. Rita’s recognition is so very well deserved and everyone at the hospice wishes Rita a long and happy retirement.”

Rita’s commendation from the national charity celebrated her ‘ability to provide care and support to people during the most vulnerable times of their lives, displaying an incredible sense of emotional awareness ensuring that the correct level of support is given to those in need.”

Also shortlisted from Sue Ryder St John’s at the awards were Head of Support Services, Donna Rutter in the ‘Outstanding Contribution’ category and Spiritual Care Coordinator, Birgitte Grace, in the ‘Compassion, Respect and Inclusion’ category.

For more information on Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice visit

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