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Queen's Birthday honours: OBE for Cambridge nurse behind scrubs campaign

image copyrightAshleigh Linsdell/PA Media
image captionAshleigh Linsdell (centre) has been honoured for her services to the NHS during the Covid-19 response

An NHS nurse who started a campaign urging volunteers to make scrubs for front-line workers has been appointed OBE.

Ashleigh Linsdell, 30, started "For the Love of Scrubs" in March after noticing a "dire need" for the medical uniforms during the coronavirus outbreak.

She started on her own, but now more than 70,000 volunteers have made 1.2 million items of PPE.

The nurse, from Cambridge, said of her honour: "I cried when I found out."

Whilst working in A&E at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, Lincolnshire, she said she saw colleagues struggling with unsuitable personal protective equipment (PPE).

Disposable paper scrubs were prone to splitting and were often ill-fitting, she said, adding: "You can't be a professional nurse giving the care that you require when you are so uncomfortable."

She began to make scrubs for staff at the hospital and was encouraged to appeal to others for help via social media.

media captionSocial media campaign encourages volunteers to make scrubs for healthcare workers.

Two months later, the movement had 148 sub-groups around the country organising local activity.

A fundraising campaign also raised more than £1m to buy fabric to make the PPE, and a million face coverings have also be made.

Ms Linsdell, who now works as a community specialist nurse in East Anglia, has been honoured for her services to the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said she had "no idea" it was coming and her husband initially thought the email from a ".gov" address was a scam.

"I had no idea that it would snowball and escalate, but we have helped hundreds of thousands of front-line workers to be safe, which then ensures our patients are safe.

"We wouldn't be where we are without our thousands of volunteers."

She said of her OBE: "This doesn't happen to normal people, and I'm just a nurse."

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