Main content

Professor Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, former nurse

Dame Elizabeth Anionwu, Emeritus Professor of Nursing, shares the eight tracks, book and luxury she would take with her if cast away to a desert island. With Lauren Laverne

Elizabeth Anionwu is a retired nurse, campaigner and Emeritus Professor of Nursing at the University of West London. A fellow of the Royal College of Nursing, she spent 40 years in the profession and has been named one of the most influential nurses in the history of the NHS. Her career was distinguished by her pioneering work in the understanding of sickle cell disease - bringing better treatment and support to the thousands living with it. She was the first sickle cell and thalassaemia nurse counsellor in the UK.

Her decades of dedication, care and service are a contrast to her own disrupted childhood as a mixed race child born out of wedlock in the 1940s, though it was the kindness of a nurse when she was just five that sparked a nascent interest in what would become her life’s work. After leaving school at 16, with seven O-levels, Elizabeth was made a Professor of Nursing in 1998.

She left her day job behind in 2007, but as she puts it “it has not turned out to be a quiet retirement”. She spent nine years fundraising and campaigning for a statue to British-Jamaican nurse Mary Seacole. Unveiled in 2016 in the grounds of St Thomas’ Hospital, London, the statue is the first in the UK to represent a named black woman. Elizabeth received the DBE in 2017 for services to nursing and the Mary Seacole Statue Appeal.

DISC ONE: Faith’s Song by Amy Wadge
DISC TWO: The Rakes of Mallow, Girl I Left Behind by The Gallowglass Ceili Band
DISC THREE: Manman by Leyla McCalla
DISC FOUR: A Te,O Cara by Andrea Bocelli
DISC FIVE: Missa Bilban by The Jamaican Folk Singers
DISC SIX: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone
DISC SEVEN: Nnekata by Flavour N'abania
DISC EIGHT: My Girl by Otis Redding

BOOK CHOICE: Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama
LUXURY ITEM: A trampoline
CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free by Nina Simone

Presenter: Lauren Laverne
Producer: Cathy Drysdale

Available now

37 minutes

Last on

Thu 4 Jun 2020 09:00

Music Played

  • Amy Wadge

    Faith's Song

    • Cold Coffee Music Limited.
  • The Gallowglass Ceili Band

    The Rakes of Mallow, Girl I Left Behind

    • The Legendary Gallowglass Ceili Band - Irish Dancing Music (Special Remastered E.
    • PMI Limited.
    • 11.
  • Leyla McCalla

    Manman

    • A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey.
    • Jazz Village.
    • 5.
  • Andrea Bocelli

    A Te,O Cara

    • Aria: The Opera Album.
    • Universal Music (UK) Limited.
    • 7.
  • The Jamaican Folk Singers

    Missa Bilban

    • Authentic Jamaican Folksongs.
    • Hummingbird.
    • 9.
  • Nina Simone

    I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free)

    • The Very Best Of Jazz After Dark 2.
    • Sony Music Entertainment UK Ltd.
    • 11.
  • Flavour N'abania

    Nnekata

    • Ijele the Traveller.
    • 2nite Entertainment.
    • 8.
  • Otis Redding

    My Girl

    • Atlantic Soul Ballads.
    • Warner Music UK Limited.
    • 10.

Broadcasts

  • Sun 31 May 2020 11:00
  • Thu 4 Jun 2020 09:00

Eight Desert Island Discs to make you feel hopeful

Eight Desert Island Discs to make you feel hopeful

Eight castaways whose moving stories left us with a little more hope than we had before.

The Desert Island Discs podcast

The Desert Island Discs podcast

Subscribe or download individual episodes.

Listen to over 2,000 programmes

Articles

Articles

Read the surprising things we've learned about some stand-out castaways.

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

The 75th anniversary of Desert Island Discs

Featuring David Beckham, the funniest and most moving moments, animations and quizzes.

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

The Lark Ascending – The People’s Desert Island Disc

Why does Vaughan Williams’s masterpiece appeal to so many castaways?

Podcast