Published on: 4 February 2021

A matron from South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has been honoured through a national awards programme that recognises nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants who show exceptional care to patients and their families, and to their colleagues.

Emma Gray, a Matron based at Sunderland Royal Hospital within the cardiology and gastroenterology department is now the proud holder of the Cavell Star Award after she was nominated by her colleague Barbara Goodfellow, who is Head of Nursing at the Trust. 

Emma has worked in the NHS for 24 years, starting here career as a healthcare assistant. She came to South Tyneside District Hospital as a nursing student in 2002 and worked her way from a staff nurse to become ward manager on the respiratory ward. 

Commenting on her award, Emma said: “I feel very honoured and privileged to have been nominated for this award. It was a complete shock when I found out that I had won. I want to thank Barbara for nominating me and for the support and guidance she gives to me and my colleagues.

“I love working in the NHS and have particularly enjoyed working closely with patients on the ward in my previous roles. I really enjoy the leadership and support element of my role as Matron. I get real job satisfaction from supporting my teams, especially at the moment when we are really seeing the added pressures of the busy winter and Covid-19. The teams I work with are very dedicated and talented within their specialities and I am lucky to work alongside a very supportive team of matrons who are always on hand to offer guidance.”

Barbara Goodfellow, who nominated Emma for the award, said: “Emma has shown exceptional leadership and support to her clinical teams and new matron colleagues. The last year has been particularly challenging for our nursing teams and many of them will not have had to deal with these type of circumstances before. However, Emma always has a smile and a positive outlook, which can be really motivating when its busy and the teams and tired. She has led her teams with professionalism – always leading by example. She is a real credit to the Trust.” 

The charity Cavell Nurses’ Trust launched the Cavell Star Awards in 2018 in partnership with LloydsPharmacy Clinical Homecare. Nursing and midwifery teams throughout the UK are encouraged to nominate a special teammate who has shown exceptional care for either their colleagues or their patients and patients’ families. Each Cavell Star Award winner receives a medal, presentation case and pin badge.  

John Orchard, Chief Executive at Cavell Nurses’ Trust, said: “Cavell Nurses’ Trust is here for nurses when they’re in a crisis, so we are really excited that the Cavell Star Award is proving so successful at boosting morale for nursing and midwifery teams working extremely hard in very challenging situations.” 

Healthcare professionals wishing to nominate a nurse, midwife or healthcare assistant for a Cavell Star Award can find out more at

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