The Only National Awards For Non-Medical / Non-Clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers

2019 Judges

Karl Roberts

Karl Roberts, C.StJ is a senior programme lead: NHS National Leadership Academy. Karl has worked across health and social care sector; Karl is currently senior programme lead for patient, staff experience and safeguarding. Karl is passionate about leadership development, coaching, mentoring, volunteering, experience of care and enabling people to provide compassionate care and leadership. Throughout Karl’s career he has placed the experience of care of staff, patient and carers at the heart of his work. Karl is very supportive of the Unsung Hero Award and has proactively helped dozens of NHS staff become involved.

Clare Price-Dowd

Clare has worked in the NHS for all her career, in clinical practice, education and management. She took up national level roles in 2002, firstly at the NHSU before joining the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement where she led a number of capability-building initiatives including supporting 50 English Universities to include improvement science in their the pre-registration health programs. Clare is currently Head of evaluation and patient experience at the NHS Leadership Academy. She has previously been responsible for managing the new suite of national core programs and now manages research and evaluation across the Academy as well as patient involvement. She has a PhD in sustaining service improvement and continues her interest in quality as a member of the Health Foundation Q initiative.

Emma Easton

Emma Easton is NHS England’s Head of Voluntary Partnerships. She leads on developing more inclusive partnerships with the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector and on the approach to increasing high impact volunteering opportunities in health and care. Prior to joining NHS England in 2013, Emma worked for Regional Voices, a network of regional VCSE organisations, supporting the sector to be more involved in health and care policy development.

Antony Tiernan

Antony Tiernan, Director of Communications, London Ambulance Service

He has worked in the NHS for more than 15 years and led the NHS’s 70th birthday celebrations. In 2018 he was named as one of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations’ top 70 members for his outstanding contribution to the Institute and wider PR industry. You can follow him on Twitter: @AntonyTiernan.


Trained as a practical electronics engineer, using those skills with the early PC networks linking to remote mainframes before programming computers to process data and planning factory manufacturing. Over twenty-five years rising through public service informatics services, the last twenty within the NHS. Whilst Chief Information Officer as a senior manager on call apparently my tea making skills are welcome in a busy A&E at 3am after calming queuing ambulance crews. Worked in Acute and Community Providers as well as commissioners and CSU supporting NHS England – able to translate complex concepts across the spectrum of workforce involved and supported them through service transfers and consultations.

Clare Cassidy

Clare Cassidy is a Senior Technical Architect and Innovator providing Technical solutions for the NHS across both Greater Manchester and Lancashire. Clare was a Senior Cisco Systems Engineer for 20 years before joining the NHS 6 years ago. She has worked around several Trusts in the North West, including UHSM, Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and Bridgewater Community Trust and is currently working at both Wrightington Wigan and Leigh Foundation Trust in Greater Manchester and North West Shared Infrastructure Services in Lancashire. Clare has recently re-designed one of the largest NHS and Public Sector Networks in the North West collaborating with all the Trusts and Public sector Organisations in Lancashire, Cumbria & Cheshire on behalf of NWSIS. Clare introduced and designed the Public Sector Wi-Fi Network ‘Govroam’ in Greater Manchester spanning over 900 buildings.

Clare is also a Voluntary member of the Technical Innovation Board at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where she designed a Virtual Visiting platform for the hospitals Neo Natal Ward after her daughter, Lydia was a patient from Birth for 9 months with a medical condition. During Lydia’s stay, Clare wanted to see her daughter when she was at home with her other two daughters, there was not a system in place for that at the time in 2013 so she designed and helped develop the platform with the innovation team and medical staff at the hospital.


Nick Clarke, one-time would-be professional footballer who has something in common with the late, great George Best. Nick had a severe haemorrhagic stroke (Bleed) in 2012 and soon realised there was very little information, guidance and support available in the public domain, especially from someone that has been there and understands it completely. In 2013 he formed a legal constitution with other stroke survivors with a view to making it a charity. Nick’s mantra is: everybody’s stroke is different, so should be their recovery journey. Nick founded StrokeInformation to help give suffers a purpose in life once again. You can find more information on this worthwhile organisation here:

Enid Dunn

Enid Dunn is one of the winners of Unsung Hero Awards 2016. Enid was nominated for her innovative bag, which she created after her battle with cancer. The bag was used to hold and conceal the drainage equipment. Following her operation Enid decided to create her own, more fashionable alternative. She continues to create bags for other patients at Royal Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, where she works as a Volunteer. Enid is also the mother of Coronation Street Star Antony Cotton and has appeared in shows herself, including Phoenix Nights and West is West.

Dale Jeffers

Dale Jeffers, RN, BSc is a senior nurse: Mersey Care NHS Trust. Dale has worked for NHS for 22 years in various NHS roles as a Porter. Admin Team Leader and over the last 14 years as a Registered Nurse; for the majority of Dale’s career he has worked within Surgery, Critical Care, Medicine and Community Services. Dale is passionate about compassionate care, leadership, coaching, mentoring, recognising,  rewarding and celebrating success.

Deborah Mort

Deborah Mort is Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust’s Business Manager and ISDN Lead. She celebrated 30 years this year of working in the NHS, predominately within the Health Informatics arena. She has a passion for staff development and careers, and works tirelessly as the Trust’s ISDN lead, leads the way as a careers ambassador and is the go-to for staff to enable them progress professionally. She has a proven track record of leadership, and her increased responsibilities include overseeing and supervising current staffing levels, budgeting controls, risk management and operational changes within the Digital hub.


Executive Director of Nursing at NHS Improvement, Deputy CNO and National Director for Infection Prevention & Control.

Ruth was appointed as Executive Director of Nursing at NHS Improvement in April 2016, following her role as Director of Nursing at Monitor, the healthcare sector regulator. She is also Deputy Chief Nursing Officer and National Director for Infection Prevention and Control. Prior to joining Monitor, she was Regional Chief Nurse and Nurse Director for the Midlands and East region of NHS England, where she championed the ‘Stop the Pressure’ campaign, which nearly halved the number of pressure ulcers in the region, improving care for patients, as well as delivering cost savings to the NHS. Ruth is passionate about nurturing the next generation of NHS nursing, midwifery and AHP leaders, encouraging professional development opportunities and working across the health system to put the optimal cultural conditions in place for all NHS employees to thrive. This includes advocating for improved mental health awareness in the workplace, championing volunteer activity to support the frontline workforce and being a vocal supporter of the WRES agenda and increased diversity across the NHS. Ruth began her career with a variety of nursing roles before becoming a theatre sister at Frimley Park Hospital. She was Acting Director of Nursing at Barnet Hospital before being appointed the substantive Director of Nursing and Deputy Chief Executive with Havering Primary Care Trust. In October 2005, she became Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, a post she held for two years. She has also been Chief Executive of Mid-Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust.


Helen Nowakowska is one of the winners of the Unsung Hero Awards 2018. She is a Senior Manager at the Countess of Chester Hospital and is a Project Lead for the Implementation of the Trust’s new EPR system. She has previously managed a number of specialties at the Trust and also manages the Appointments department and is responsible for outpatient efficiencies under the Model Hospital Programme. Her background is in Training and Development and operational management and she believes staff support and recognition help to deliver great patient care.

Amy Overend

Amy is a specialised neonatal intensive care nurse, as well as previously having worked within adult critical care and cancer care.

As well as working full time as a nurse within the NHS, Amy is also a Trustee and Non-Executive Director of Bliss- the sick and premature baby charity, as well as being an expert reviewer for the NIHR.

Amy has recently written and published a book, as well as being a TEDx Speaker.

Amy is also the creator of 10 Things To Know, highlighting the work of different specialties within the NHS as well as offering support to staff. She was recently awarded a Fellowship to the royal society of the Arts.


Stephen Powis is the National Medical Director of NHS England and Professor of Renal Medicine at University College London.

Previously he was Medical Director (and latterly Group Chief Medical Officer) of the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust from 2006 to 2018. Professor Powis was also a member of the governing body of Merton Clinical Commissioning Group for five years and a Director of Healthcare Services Laboratories LLP. He is a past Chairman of the Association of UK Universities (AUKUH) Medical Directors Group and has been a member of numerous national committees and working groups, including the Department of Health Strategic Education Funding Expert Group. He is a past non-executive director of the North Middlesex University Hospital NHS Trust, including a period of eight months as acting chairman.

Ayesha Rahim

Ayesha Rahim is a Consultant Psychiatrist specialising in the mental health of women in and around pregnancy, and is a Deputy Medical Director. She has worked in the NHS for the last 15 years, and in the last seven based in Lancashire. Her other areas of interest are in Digital Health and the use of technology to transform healthcare to improve quality and safety, and is also passionate about equality, diversity and inclusion issues. You can follow her on Twitter @AyeshaRahimCCIO.


Graduated in Pharmacy 1998 at Strathclyde University, Glasgow, trained in Glasgow Royal Infirmary then moved to Ninewells hospital in Dundee for 6 years, then moved to Edinburgh Cancer Centre for 6 years, then started current job in 2013 at the Victoria hospital, Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Had experience in all areas of hospital, but found Cancer the most interesting and rewarding for patient contact. Always had a good rapport with patients, as I treat others the way I would want to be treated (it’s nice to be nice!). I’ve had many lovely gestures from patients over the years, including a large framed photo of a golden retriever who I brought treats into hospital for!

The pinnacle of my career so far was winning the Patient’s Choice category of the Unsung Hero Awards 2018. Being nominated was enough in itself, and going on to be shortlisted was just fantastic. The build up to the awards night was unforgettable and the night itself was just incredible, very emotional. The feeling of winning the award on the night will stay with me forever and I look forward to seeing someone else who goes above and beyond in their day to day work winning the award next year.


Simone Roche, CEO and Founder of Northern Power Women, launched this campaign out of a passion to connect and engage with people about gender equality.

Simone started her career in roles with the Royal Navy, Aintree Racecourse, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the Arena Convention Centre Liverpool and the Olympics.

When Simone became the Director for a campaign supporting women in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industry she was asked to be a champion for the Government Equalities Office – then gender equality grew to be her passion.

Simone was awarded MBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to gender equality in the north of England.


Jayne started working in the NHS in 1985 and since then has held a series of positions including Associate Director of Ops, Director of Surgery, Medicine, Diagnostics and Clinical Support, Deputy COO and has held board positions as COO and Programme Director.

She has also worked as a programme manager and programme director for over 20 years both inside the NHS delivering national programmes of work, and local transformation and turnaround programmes. She has delivered global programmes in the private sector having held positions in AstraZeneca, IBM, Fujitsu, Isoft and BT and she has held senior positions in 2 start-up companies.

Don Tomlinson

Founder of max20 Group, which comprises max20 Recruitment and max20 Project Solutions – exclusive suppliers to the NHS of non-medical, non-clinical staff and Associates – Professional Services Teams – all bands from Band 2 – Band 10.

Also founder of the Unsung Hero Awards – the only National Awards Ceremony that celebrates the amazing achievements of the non-medical, non-clinical staff of the NHS (approximately 50% of the overall workforce).