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Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

Cavell award in memory of star nurse Jackie


Jackie in her nursing role

A nurse from Northampton has become a posthumous winner of a Cavell Star Award. Jackie Phillips, the former Northampton General Hospital ward sister, nurse manager of palliative care for Northamptonshire and senior clinical nurse at Cynthia Spencer Hospice was nominated for going above and beyond for her patients throughout her thirty-year career.   

Jackie passed away in April this year and her friend and fellow nursing colleague Krystyna Grey was keen to recognise and celebrate Jackie’s commitment to generations of patients in Northamptonshire.

Krystyna met Jackie when they both started their nursing training at Northampton School of Nursing in 1970. Their rooms in the nurses’ home were next to each other and a lifelong friendship started from that moment.

“We looked extremely smart in our uniforms,” remembers Krystyna “with starched aprons and caps and a navy and red cape to wear whilst walking along the corridors. Outdoors, we wore a gabardine mac and a storm cap. The uniform policy was very strict! Although life was strict and formal on the wards, we still found time for fun. Jackie and I took part in the annual Northampton carnival, using bedpans to collect money! We also had a Christmas show which was always fun and everyone at the hospital could take part.”

In just a few years, Jackie was promoted to Senior Sister on Talbot Butler ward, the Oncology and Radiotherapy ward at Northampton General Hospital and also trained in oncology at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London. In 1981, Jackie was nominated and awarded Nurse of the Year by the people of Northampton, something that made her immensely proud.

Jackie’s nursing career saw her become Senior Clinical Nurse at the Cynthia Spencer Hospice and Nurse Manager of Palliative Care for Northamptonshire, taking on responsibility for managing care at Cransley Hospice, the Macmillan nurses and Hospice at Home care. Jackie loved her role at the Cynthia Spencer Hospice and remained there until her retirement in 2006.

Krystyna nominated Jackie for a Cavell Star Award for going above and beyond for her patients and paid tribute to her friend: “She was a credit to the nursing profession; caring, highly respected and dedicated, an outstanding nurse who always understood the needs of others. She was also fun to be around and had an adventurous spirit too, like doing a parachute jump to raise money for the cancer ward. Jackie was a true role model to her staff and showed compassion and care to the patients and families at the hospice. I feel privileged to have known her.”

Jackie’s husband Roger and her sister Joan received the Cavell Star Award in her memory. Roger reacted to the presentation: “Jackie would have been thrilled to receive a Cavell Star Award but she would have insisted that her whole team be recognised, not just her. Jackie’s team meant everything to her and if you were a friend of Jackie’s then you stayed a friend! Colleagues have contacted me since Jackie passed away and they’ve all said what a privilege it was to be able to work for her. Nobody understood people quite like Jackie did.”

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

Posted on Thursday 8th August 2019
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