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Celebrating the achievements of MBE Cathy Ryan – Community Nurse and fundraiser

This International Women’s Day, we celebrate the achievements of our amazing fundraiser Cathy Ryan, who was recently awarded an MBE for the impact she has made in the community through her nursing work and fundraising events.

Nursing career spanning 45 years

Catherine Ryan has had a nursing career spanning 45 years. Currently she is the Community Matron at Sole Bay Health Centre in Reydon, Southwold, Suffolk as well as being the Founder and Chair of Sole Bay Care Fund.

Cathy receiving an MBE also follows on from her holding the Paul Harris Fellow award for her work with Southwold and District Rotary as well as being a Queen’s Nurse for demonstrating a high level of commitment to patient care and nursing practice. The local community played a huge role in her award of an MBE, with Cathy mentioning that the ‘community really cares and supports the work we do as a team at Sole Bay Health Centre in order to improve the patient experience and services within our local environment.’

Instrumental in getting the service established

Two years ago, Dr Castle and Partners, based at Sole Bay Health Centre, appointed an Admiral Nurse to work within the GP service in collaboration with Dementia UK. The service and that of Sole Bay Health Centre hold an ‘outstanding’ CQC rating for the support they provide for carers and people with dementia. Cathy was instrumental in getting this service established.

Dementia care has been a ‘personal crusade’ of Cathy’s, as she was the main carer for her mother with dementia for over 10 years and really felt there needed to be a local service that made a difference to carers and all those living with dementia.

Working to raise the profile of dementia care

Admiral Nurse, Mindy Mortimer, and Cathy have been working to raise the profile of dementia care in their town and surrounding villages. The service has included information and training sessions, which have been delivered to many of the town’s businesses, clubs, churches, organisations and individuals. They also now run a monthly music session for those living with dementia. The Sole Bay Care Fund also supports respite care at home or near as home as possible for those with dementia as well as many other individualised care plans.

Cathy said: ‘I’d like to thank the community and my colleagues who get behind my hare-brained ideas and constantly support me. I love that I was given this MBE for nursing as well as fundraising as I love my community nursing role now more than I ever have. I work with amazingly creative and dedicated teams and our practice is very much a family. I am still very passionate about my role as both nurse and a member of the community.’

Dr. Hilda Hayo, Chief Admiral Nurse and CEO at Dementia UK, said of Cathy’s achievements: ‘With her passion for dementia nursing and her creative fundraising efforts, it is no wonder that Cathy has been honoured with an MBE – congratulations Cathy.’