There’s only one Mandy – and she’s EXCEPTIONAL!

Recently retired Modern Matron Mandy McKendry received the November Exceptional People Award in an emotional ceremony at Warneford while Project Manager Matt Fletcher from Estates & Facilities and Dementia Nurse Specialist Phil Blunden from Whiteleaf are our Highly Commended individuals.

There’s only one Mandy – and she’s EXCEPTIONAL!

Only a few weeks after she retired, Modern Matron Mandy McKendry was invited back to a Trust site for “a little surprise”. Her now ex-colleague Kathryn Ruane, Clinical Lead Specialist for First Contact and Primary Care, had assured her it was only something nice, but even so, when Mandy was led to the Warneford Board room by Service Manager Emma Leaver, she had a slightest look of concern.

Around the board table sat Chris Hewitt, Head of First Contact and Primary Care, Pete McGrane, Clinical Director of Community Services and Kathryn.

“Something has come up since you left,” said Emma in a mock-solemn manner.

“Do I need to get my union rep?” asked Mandy, and then: “Oh no, is this going to be emotional?”

Emma-Leaver-Mandy-McKendry-Pete-McGrane-Kathryn-Ruane-Chris-Hewitt - exceptional people award presentation November 2021

Emma Leaver, Mandy McKendry, Pete McGrane, Kathryn Ruane and Chris Hewitt celebrating Mandy’s recognition.

Emma then stated she needed to read out a note someone had sent to her, and succinctly detailed how Mandy has made a difference on so many fronts: as a nurse, staff welfare champion, pioneering volunteers and much more. She retired in November from a 41-year career, most recently as a Modern Matron for Urgent Care, Out of Hours and Minor Injuries.

“Mandy, you are the Trust’s Exceptional People Award winner for November,” Emma finished.

“For once I am speechless!” said Mandy.

“It’s lovely to hear I’ve made a difference,” says Mandy

Everyone  around the table had plenty to say to Mandy, though. Chris Hewitt said:

“I was delighted when you joined our team. With your joyous, happy and smiling manner you championed volunteers and kept patients at the heart of everything.”

Pete McGrane said:

“Our paths have followed each other since the early 90s. I have always had enormous respect for your integrity and professionalism: you tell people what they need to hear rather than what they want to hear. You’ve always held my feet to the fire!”

“That’s the role of the matron!” quipped Mandy.

Kathryn said:

“I haven’t known you for quite as long as others in this room, but when I started in Urgent Care and was new in the post, you were a great support to me.”

Emma concluded:

“There’s no one quite like Mandy. You have kept us grounded, advocated for your staff and challenged us when needed, even if it was sometimes unpopular.”

Mandy said:

“Now I am going to get emotional. I became a nurse with the intention and integrity to keep patients at the heart of everything: look after your staff and they will look after the patient. And I think I have managed to do that.  This tribute is so totally unexpected – but it’s lovely to hear that I have made a difference.”

The nomination

Mandy was nominated by Daphne Pearson, Specialist Emergency Practitioner at Henley and Abingdon Minor Injury Unit. She wrote:

“As my line manager (who has supported me through a traumatic injury and multiple surgeries and has been my rock) and the matron for MIU and OOH, Mandy has done many exceptional things. Mandy made it clear from the start that staff welfare was a priority as cared for employees would in turn be caring to service users and deliver the high standard of care.

Mandy was integral to the inception of the peace and tranquility garden at Abingdon and has piloted the successful introduction of volunteers to the Urgent Care Service. She has worked to get our service onto the TLC Teddy campaign so that all bases have teddy bears to make the health care experience less daunting for youngsters who attend with injuries. If anyone deserves this exceptional recognition, she does!”

Exceptional People Awards for individuals are judged monthly by a panel from Oxford Health’s Council of Governors, representing public, service users and carers across the Trust geography. Led by lead governor Mike Hobbs (Public, Oxfordshire), they are Jacky McKenna (Servicer User, Bucks), Jonathan Cole (Service User, Oxon), Nyarai Humba (Carer) and Anna Gardner (Public Bucks). The winner receives an engraved trophy, a certificate and a £50 gift voucher.

Highly Commended

Every month our judges select two Highly Commended individuals in addition to the winner. For November they are Matt Fletcher, Project Manager for Estates and Facilities and Dementia Nurse Specialist Phil Blunden from North Bucks Older Adults Community Mental Health Team, based at the Whiteleaf Centre in Aylesbury.

Kerry Rogers, Matt Flectcher and Nick Broughton

Matt Fletcher received his award from Kerry Rogers and CEO Dr Nick Broughton.

Matt Fletcher was delighted to hear he was Highly Commended in the November round of Exceptional People Awards. He made a point of cutting his leave short and driving down at 3am from a weekend with his children in order to attend a ceremony he shared with the November team award winner – he needed to, especially as his children were VERY excited. But Matt was even more chuffed when Kerry Rogers. Director of Corporate Affairs, read out the nomination.

In short, Matt is the man who has set up Oxford Health’s Mass Vaccination Sites in Oxford, Aylesbury and Reading, moved them when needed, worked with contractors for electrics, lifts and more, and has been seen cleaning and setting up vaccination tables. As the nomination states:

“We could not have delivered over a million vaccinations without him.”

Chief Nurse Marie Crofts and CEO Dr Nick Broughton as well as Kerry enjoyed hearing a bit more about Matt’s perspective on the Covid challenge.

“It’s been very exciting – not the Covid itself! – but to be part of such a building project,” Matt said.

Nominate now for January 2022epa logo

Give someone special or a top team an even happier start to the new year: nominate them for Exceptional People Awards! Closing date for January submissions is January 24.

However, nominations are accepted at any time, so if you miss a certain month’s deadline, your nomination will simply roll into the following month.  Find the nomination forms and rules here.


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Published: 16 December 2021