"Complete surprise": Horsforth nurse receives MBE for services to Women's Martial Arts in Queen's New Year Honours list

A Horsforth nurse was left in "complete suprise" after being honoured with an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours list for services to Women's Martial Arts.

By Alex Grant
Friday, 31st December 2021, 10:30 pm

Vanda Fairchild, 56, is to be honoured for services to both Women's Martial Arts and the NHS.

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Despite having worked continuously in the NHS since 1983, until her retirement in March (2021), Vanda was left "humbled" by the award.

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"Complete and utter surprise." she told the YEP "In fact if I hadn't got such a weighty letter in the post and it had been an email or someone had rung me then I would have thought it was a joke."

Since 2013, Vanda has held the innovative role of Young Adult Kidney Care Coordinator and played a vital role in the transition of young adults from paediatric services at Evelina London Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, to adult services at Guy’s and St Thomas’ London hospital.

She has also been involved with Aikido (a Japanese Martial Art) over a span of 30 years. She began this sport in 1979, becoming British Randori Champion three times, going on to win six international medals.

"I have given my all to be a good role model and an inspiration to girls and women." Vanda said "I have had quite a long career as an amateur sports women, won various international medals and have been a competitor, a player, a coach, a referee and I have organised competitions both internationally and nationally."

Vanda was one of the first non-Japanese women to win a medal at the World Championships and by 1993, she was recognised as one of ‘The Best of British Women’.

She has held various positions in the executive committee of the British Aikido Association (including being Sports Development Officer) and is a representative on the World Sports Aikido Federation (WSAF).

In 2017, she organised the WSAF World Championships in London with participants from Japan, the USA, Russia and across Europe as well as the UK. She is an internationally recognised referee and head judge.

Along with her partner, they run The Tanseikan Aikido Club which has grown hugely popular over the years with its members competing successfully for the UK on the world stage.

Vanda has equally been recognised for her long career in the NHS, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic although requested the latter part be removed.

"Initially it did say during Covid but I asked them to remove it because I don't think I did anymore than any other health care professional during the pandemic." she explained.

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