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‘I nearly threw the letter in the fire’: nurse and fundraiser’s MBE joy

PUBLISHED: 12:53 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 13:37 31 December 2019

Southwold Christmas Day Swim 2013: Southwold community matron Cathy Ryan took a dip dressed as Miss Piggy from the Muppet Show.

Southwold Christmas Day Swim 2013: Southwold community matron Cathy Ryan took a dip dressed as Miss Piggy from the Muppet Show.

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A woman has been recognised for her outstanding services to nursing and community fundraising in this year’s Queen’s New Year Honours.

A woman has been recognised for her outstanding services in nursing and community fundraising in this years royal honours. Photo: Nick ButcherA woman has been recognised for her outstanding services in nursing and community fundraising in this years royal honours. Photo: Nick Butcher

Catherine Ryan, 62, a community matron in Reydon and Southwold at Sole Bay Health and organiser of Southwold Rotary Club, has been made an MBE for the tremendous impact she has made in the community through her nursing work and fundraising events.

Catherine, who prefers to go by Cathy, said she was "blown away" when she found out she had been offered the award as she did not expect the honour.

"It's a funny story," she said. "I arrived back home and saw the post had been - it was prior to the general election - I noticed one letter had the Cabinet Office on it, and I thought it was election rubbish, so I threw it in the log basket.

"It was only when I started to screw it up to throw it in the fire, when I suddenly thought it might be about a friend I had nominated for an MBE a few years ago.

"I sort of skim-read it and saw my name, then the penny dropped.

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"I realised it was about me and I was blown away, I was just over the moon."

Cathy, who has been a nurse for more than 40 years and was recently made a 'Queen's nurse' before receiving her MBE, said the award was one to share with the community, as "I'd never have got it without the community support".

Alongside running the GP-based Admiral Nurse service for people with dementia, a "personal crusade" of Cathy's, she has been a long-serving member and the former president of the Southwold Rotary, which fundraises for various issues locally, nationally and internationally - including the town's Christmas Day swim.

She said: "I'd like to thank the community who get behind my hare-brained ideas and constantly support me and donate.

"I love that I got it for nursing as well as fundrasising, I love my job more now than 40 years ago but it's the team and the family."


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