Retired Leeds nurse among NHS heroes recognised in memory of campaigning doctor Kate Granger

Kate Granger and husband Chris Pointon.
Kate Granger and husband Chris Pointon.

A retired nurse from Leeds who began her training in the year the NHS was founded has been recognised for her decades of unswerving commitment to helping others.

Betty Smithson, 87, of Seacroft, was today named as one of the winners of 2018’s Kate Granger Compassionate Care Awards.

Betty Smithson.

Betty Smithson.

Now in their fifth year, the awards were launched by campaigning West Yorkshire doctor Kate Granger during her brave fight against terminal cancer.

Betty started her training at Leeds General Infirmary back in 1948 and went on to become assistant director for nurse education at St James’s Hospital.

Since her retirement she has continued to volunteer with organisations such as Healthwatch Leeds.

The award winners were chosen by a judging panel that included Prof Jane Cummings, chief nursing officer for England, and Kate’s widower, Chris Pointon.

Chris said: “Judging the awards was difficult as nominations were of such a high calibre and all the nominees are doing amazing work.

“The winners are exceptional and highlight the dedication and commitment of everyday people who work in the NHS.”

Other winners included the late Joyce Cook, who worked as a midwife in a number of deprived parts of Bradford and took it upon herself to learn Urdu so she could communicate better with some of the Asian women under her care.

Kate, who died in 2016 aged 34, found the strength during her illness to launch #hellomynameis, a campaign which encourages medical staff to introduce themselves properly to their patients.

The consultant, who lived in East Ardsley and worked at Wakefield’s Pinderfields Hospital, also raised £250,000 for charity.