Frontline NHS nurse makes Queen's Birthday Honours list

Wendy Kimberley, who lives in Little Melton, has made the Queen's birthday honours list.

Wendy Kimberley, who lives in Little Melton, has made the Queen's Birthday Honours list. - Credit: Wendy Kimberley

A key worker who captured the tireless battle of 50 of her friends and colleagues during the pandemic has been recognised by the Queen.

Wendy Kimberley, a Norfolk nurse and self-taught artist, has been made a Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for charitable services to the NHS through the Portraits for Heroes Initiative during Covid-19.

The 54-year-old from Little Melton was astounded by the news, saying: "I was shocked when I got the letter.

Wendy Kimberley, with her letter and award, for being on the Queen's birthday honours list.

Wendy Kimberley with her letter and award - Credit: Wendy Kimberley

"I thought someone was having a joke with me but when I spoke to my husband he revealed he had nominated me.

"It's an absolutely amazing feeling."

Mrs Kimberley, who works at Wymondham Health Centre, completed 51 portraits and still has more requests coming in.

Some of Wendy Kimberley's portraits for NHS staff who were fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of Wendy Kimberley's portraits for NHS staff who were fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. - Credit: Wendy Kimberley

She added: "I'm really proud to work for the NHS. I know how hard everyone works and how challenging it was for all staff during the first lockdown.

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"My daughter, who is also a doctor, inspired me to start painting as it all hit home that little bit more.

"It was such an honour to hear the stories of the people I was painting - how they were shielding and protecting their families while working."

Wendy's daughter Laura Brenner is an A&E doctor and was one of the first paintings.

Wendy's daughter Laura Brenner is an A&E doctor and was one of the first paintings. - Credit: Wendy Kimberley

"I feel like this award is for all the staff - I'm so proud to work for the NHS," she added.

Tony Kimberley, Wendy's husband, said: "Wendy is very modest when she talks about her award but she shouldn't be because she worked extremely hard.

"I saw how much time and effort she put into her work - she used to go to the health centre and help the elderly - the most 'at risk' patients - during the pandemic.

David Simpson, Intensive care nurse, Sheffield Hospital.

David Simpson, Intensive care nurse, Sheffield Hospital. - Credit: Wendy Kimberley

"She would then come home about 6pm and paint until about 11pm every night and on the weekends."

While only five letters of support are needed to accompany an official nomination, Tony was stunned to receive 16 letters and over 800 comments on social media supporting his wife.

Jack Walker, student paramedic, UEA and East of England Ambulance.

Jack Walker, student paramedic, UEA and East of England Ambulance. - Credit: Wendy Kimberley

Mrs Kimberley added: "The NHS was so strained and so many people risked their lives for others - this is an award for them all.

"My paintings were a tribute to them and their stories."

Wendy Kimberley, who works for the NHS herself, painted over 50 of her friends and colleagues.

Wendy Kimberley, who works for the NHS herself, painted over 50 of her friends and colleagues. - Credit: Wendy Kimberley